- J. Jill CEO Linda Heasley has stepped down from the position as well as her board post, the women's apparel seller said in a press release Thursday. The company did not disclose a reason for her departure.
- Board member James Scully has taken over as interim CEO while the company searches for Heasley's permanent replacement. The board has already begun the search, and Scully is set to stay in the position until the process is complete, the company said.
- Also on Thursday, J. Jill reported that third quarter comparable sales fell 7% and top-line sales fell 4.6% to $166.1 million. Net income fell by more than 64% to $2.4 million.
Scully, and whoever replaces him as permanent chief of J. Jill, have plenty of challenges awaiting them as the company faces a deeply challenged apparel sector.
Scully had the unenviable task of announcing what he called the company's "disappointing" Q3 numbers. He said in a statement that "the team is working hard to stabilize the business and drive improvements at a much quicker pace with an immediate focus on operating fundamentals and financial discipline."
Year over year, margins, gross profit, operating income and net income all declined along with sales at J. Jill. The company's direct-to-consumer sales, which comprise 43% of its total sales, also fell 7%.
More, the company doesn't expect the bleeding to stop in the near-term. For Q4, management anticipates comp sales to decline 8% to 10% and for earnings to swing negative. For the year the company estimates comps will decline 6% and for it to post negative earnings.
Scully in the past has served as chief operating officer for Avon Products and J. Crew, among other leadership positions in retail. Board Chairman Michael Rahamim said of Scully that he "is a retail industry veteran with a proven track record of working in complex environments and a deep understanding of J.Jill from his time on the Board."