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J.Jill (JILL) Q1 Earnings Beat Estimates, Sales Rise Y/Y

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.Jill, Inc. (JILL - Free Report) reported strong first-quarter 2024 results, wherein the top and bottom lines increased year over year and surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

The company’s success story is rooted in its remarkable brand equity and a very loyal customer base. It offers a wide array of products, which, in turn, generates consistent demand and serves the customers through a balanced omni-channel model.

Over the years, JILL has driven strong financial results through careful planning, disciplined inventory management and a focus on full-price selling. This also led to a robust foundation for its brand, fostering loyalty and attracting new customers.

Q1 Details

J.Jill, an omnichannel apparel retailer, delivered adjusted earnings of $1.22 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.14. Additionally, the bottom line reflected a considerable improvement from $1.01 per share reported in the year-ago period.

Net sales of $161.5 million increased 7.5% from $150.2 million reported in the prior-year quarter. The metric also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $160 million. This uptick was primarily driven by approximately $7 million of benefit resulting from the calendar shift associated with the 53rd week in fiscal 2023. Additionally, favorable full-price mix and higher average unit retails contributed to the positive comparable sales.

Comparable sales, incorporating both store and direct-to-consumer channels, grew 3.1% in the first quarter of 2024. Also, direct-to-consumer net sales, comprising 47% of net sales, saw an 11.6% year-over-year rise.

Gross profit of $117.7 million improved 8.6% year over year. Gross margin of 72.9% expanded 80 basis points (bps) from 72.1% reported in the year-ago quarter. This improvement was driven by a robust mix of full-price sales, a better markdown gross margin and benefits from first cost average unit cost.

Selling, general and administrative expenses of $89.1 million increased 8.6% year over year. As a percentage of net sales, selling, general and administrative expenses, excluding non-recurring items, increased 20 bps to 55.4% in the first quarter of 2024. This was attributable to marketing investments, along with variable expenses related to higher sales, wage inflation and approximately $700,000 in incremental expenses associated with the OMS project.

Adjusted EBITDA totaled $35.6 million in the first quarter of 2024, a rise from $31.9 million in the first quarter of 2023, indicating an increase of 11.5%.

In terms of store count, there were no openings during the first quarter, resulting in a total of 244 stores at the end of the quarter.

J.Jill, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

J.Jill, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

J.Jill, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | J.Jill, Inc. Quote

Other Financial Aspects

The company ended first-quarter 2024 with cash and cash equivalents of $77.1 million, long-term debt (net of discount and current portion) of $119.1 million and stockholders’ equity of $53.1 million.

This Zacks Rank #1 stock (Strong Buy) has outperformed the industry in the past six months. Shares of the company have gained 49.4% compared with the industry’s growth of 16%.

Zacks Investment Research
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research


For the second quarter, management foresees net sales to be flat to down 3% compared with the second quarter of fiscal 2023. JILL also anticipates adjusted EBITDA in the band of $27-$30 million.

For the full year, J.Jill forecasts net sales growth in the range of 1-3%. The company projects adjusted EBITDA to decrease in the band of 1-3%. This guidance considers the negative impact of the loss of the 53rd week in fiscal 2023, amounting to $7.9 million in net sales and $2.2 million in adjusted EBITDA. Additionally, operating expenses of $3 million associated with the OMS project are also factored into this guidance.

The company predicts fiscal 2024 net sales to expand in the 2-4% band. Adjusted EBITDA is suggested to increase in the range of 1-3% compared with the prior year if it factors out the impact of the 53rd week and the investment in the OMS project.

Total capital expenditures are expected to stay around $26 million and foresees an increase in net store count by up to five stores by the end of fiscal 2024.

Other Key Picks

We have highlighted three other top-ranked stocks, namely, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF - Free Report) , The Gap Inc. (GPS - Free Report) and DICK'S Sporting Goods (DKS - Free Report) .

Abercrombie & Fitch, a specialty retailer of premium, high-quality casual apparel, currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 at present. ANF has a trailing four-quarter average earnings surprise of 210.3%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Abercrombie & Fitch’s current fiscal-year sales and earnings indicates growth of 10.5% and 47.5%, respectively, from the year-ago figures.

Gap, a fashion retailer of apparel and accessories, currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. GPS has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 202.7%, on average.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Gap’s current financial-year sales and earnings per share suggests a rise of 0.1% and 17.5%, respectively, from the year-earlier levels.

DICK'S Sporting operates as an omni-channel sporting goods retailer. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). DKS has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 4.7%, on average.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for DICK’S Sporting current fiscal-year sales and earnings implies an improvement of 1.8% and 6.3%, respectively, from the prior-year numbers.

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