J. Jill sees lower fourth-quarter earnings

Women’s apparel cataloger/retailer J. Jill (NasdaqNM:JILL) expects weaker fourth-quarter earnings, citing disappointing catalog sales and lackluster demand for sweaters.

“Sales for our historically predictable Best Seller catalog, which began to mail in early November, were significantly below plan,” said president/CEO Gordon Cooke in a statement. The Quincy, MA-based company also had high expectations for sweaters, which “ultimately ran against this year’s fashion trends and resulted in lost sales in both the direct and retail segments,” Cooke said.

J. Jill expects fourth-quarter earnings to drop to 25 cents to 30 cents per share from 37 cents per share the year before. Sales should range from $102 million-$107.5 million, up from $91.7 million a year earlier. “While we are clearly disappointed with our projected results, we do expect to report a record fiscal 2002, both in terms of sales and earnings,” Cooke said.