Talbots sale of J.Jill Will Result in 75 Closures

Talbots Inc., the U.S. women's clothing chain, agreed to sell almost all the assets of its J. Jill brand to an affiliate of private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital for about $75 million.

J. Jill will continue to operate from Quincy, Massachusetts, under President Paula Bennett, Talbots said today in a statement. The buyer will retain a distribution center in New Hampshire and keep open 204 of the existing 279 J. Jill stores. Talbots said it will probably close the remaining shops within the next 60 days.

Talbots, which specializes in apparel for women 35 and older, bought J. Jill in 2006 for about $517 million and put the unit up for sale last year. Talbots posted a loss of $560.7 million for the year ended Jan. 31 as consumers cut spending on clothing. The company had 586 Talbots-branded stores at the end of the first quarter.

“The sale price was a little bit less than we had expected or hoped for,” Betty Chen, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities in San Francisco, said today in a telephone interview. “But the fact that they were able to just sell a loss-making division like J. Jill is a modest positive for the company” because it allows them to pay down some debt and focus primarily on the Talbots division, Chen said.


Bankruptcies and Liquidations:

Potential Bankruptcies & Liquidation Impact: 1,526 confirmed closures out of about 2,948 stores

Announced Closings

Total Closings: up to 1,515 U.S. stores

Potential Impact of All Announcements to Date: 3,041 closures out of up to 4,463 potentially affected U.S. stores

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