J. Jill, Geerlings & Wade Boost Their Bottom Lines

Stamford, CT—Here’s a refreshing change of pace: Amid continuing reports of layoffs and cutbacks among marketers, two catalogers—J. Jill and Geerlings & Wade—posted bottom-line improvements.

Quincy, MA-based women’s apparel cataloger/retailerJ. Jill (Nasdaq: JILL) increased second-quarter net income 27%, to $2.6 million for the the three monthed ended June 30, up from $2.0 million last year. Net sales increased 29%, to $66.2 million from $51.5 million. Sales within J. Jill’s direct business—the catalog and the Website—increased 5%, to $50.5 million, as a result of improved fulfillment and lower returns. Catalog circulation and productivity per catalog mailed were equal to last year’s. Web sales totaled $13.1 million, or 26% of total direct channel volume, compared with $6.5 million or 13% a year ago. What’s more, the cost of handling a transaction in its contact center has dropped 25% from spring 2000.

Meanwhile, Canton, MA-based wine marketer Geerlings & Wade (Nasdaq: GEER) reduced its second-quarter net loss by 64%, to a loss of $128,000 for the three months ended June 30, compared to a net loss of $357,000 last year. Geerlings &Wade attributes the gain to reduced product, marketing, and delivery costs. At the same time, sales declined 17%, to $7.8 million from $9.4 million, following a reduction in mailings to less profitably customers. In other Geerlings & Wade news, marketing vice president Eric Welter has resigned to accept a position with another company.

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