10-K 1 jill-10k_20200201.htm 10-K jill-10k_20200201.htm

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended February 1, 2020

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 For the transition period from            to            

Commission File Number 001-38026

 

J.Jill, Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

45-1459825

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

4 Batterymarch Park Quincy, MA

 

02169

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (617) 376-4300

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

Trading symbol(s)

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, $0.01 par value

JILL

New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  No 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes  No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes  No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes  No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company.  See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

 

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

 

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No 

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based on the closing price of the shares of common stock on NYSE Stock Market on August 2, 2019, was $23,543,801.

The number of shares of registrant’s Common Stock outstanding as of June 15, 2020 was 44,774,201.

 

Documents Incorporated by Reference

Portions of Part II of this Form 10-K are incorporated by reference from the Registrant’s definitive proxy statement for its 2020 annual meeting of shareholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission no later than 120 days after the end of the Registrant’s fiscal year.

 

 

 


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Table of Contents

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

4

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

10

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

30

Item 2.

Properties

30

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

31

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

31

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

32

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

34

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

37

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

51

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

51

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

51

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

51

Item 9B.

Other Information

53

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

54

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

60

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

69

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

70

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

72

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

74

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

76

 

1


CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Annual Report”) contains forward-looking statements, which involve risks and uncertainties.  These forward-looking statements are generally identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, including the terms “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would” and, in each case, their negative or other various or comparable terminology.  All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Annual Report, including statements regarding our strategy, future operations, future financial position, future revenue, projected costs, prospects, plans, objectives of management and expected market growth are forward-looking statements.  The forward-looking statements are contained principally in the sections entitled “Item 1. Business,” “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and include, among other things, statements relating to:

 

our strategy, outlook and growth prospects;

 

our operational and financial targets and dividend policy;

 

our planned expansion of the store base;

 

general economic trends and trends in the industry and markets; and

 

the competitive environment in which we operate.

These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.  Important factors that could cause our results to vary from expectations include, but are not limited to:

 

our ability to successfully expand and increase sales;

 

our ability to maintain and enhance a strong brand image;

 

our ability to successfully optimize our omnichannel operations and maintain a relevant and reliable omnichannel experience;

 

our ability to generate adequate cash from our existing business to support our growth;

 

our ability to identify and respond to new and changing customer preferences;

 

our ability to compete effectively in an environment of intense competition;

 

our ability to contain the increase in the cost of shipping our merchandise, mailing catalogs, paper and printing;

 

our ability to acquire new customers in a cost-effective manner;

 

the success of the locations in which our stores are located and our ability to open and operate new retail stores on a profitable basis;

 

our ability to adapt to changes in consumer spending and general economic conditions;

 

natural disasters, unusually adverse weather conditions, boycotts and unanticipated events;

 

pandemics or other public health crises, such as the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, and adverse changes in economic and market conditions related to such pandemics or other health crises;

 

our ability to take actions that are sufficient to eliminate the substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern;

 

our ability to work with lenders and others or otherwise pursue options to refinance following any event of default under our credit facilities;

 

our dependence on third-party vendors to provide us with sufficient quantities of merchandise at acceptable prices;

 

increases in costs of raw materials, distribution and sourcing costs and in the costs of labor and employment;

 

the susceptibility of the price and availability of our merchandise to international trade conditions;

 

failure of our suppliers and their manufacturing sources to use acceptable labor or other practices;

 

our dependence upon key executive management or our inability to hire or retain the talent required for our business;

 

failure of our information technology systems to support our current and growing business;

 

disruptions in our supply chain and distribution and customer contact center;

 

our ability to protect our trademarks or other intellectual property rights;

 

infringement on the intellectual property of third parties;

 

our ability to maintain compliance with the listing requirements of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”);

 

acts of war, terrorism or civil unrest;

 

the impact of governmental laws and regulations and the outcomes of legal proceedings;

2


 

our ability to secure the personal information of our customers and employees and comply with applicable security standards;

 

impairment charges for goodwill, indefinite-lived intangible assets or other long-lived assets;

 

our failure to maintain adequate internal controls over our financial and management systems;

 

increased costs as a result of being a public company, particularly after we are no longer an “emerging growth company”; and

 

other risks, uncertainties and factors set forth in this Annual Report, including those set forth under “Item 1A. Risk Factors.”

These forward-looking statements reflect our views with respect to future events as of the date of this Annual Report and are based on assumptions and subject to risks and uncertainties.  Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this Annual Report and, except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or review publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise after the date of this Annual Report.  We anticipate that subsequent events and developments will cause our views to change.  You should read this Annual Report and the documents filed as exhibits to the Annual Report, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect.  Our forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers, dispositions, joint ventures or investments we may undertake.  We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

 

J.Jill relied on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Order under Section 36 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) Modifying Exemptions From the Reporting and Proxy Delivery Requirements for Public Companies dated March 25, 2020 (Release No. 34-88465) (the “Order”) to delay the filing of its Annual Report due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions in J.Jill’s operations including limiting the management team’s access to J.Jill’s offices and causing the management team to spend significant time addressing the pressing business and operational issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a delay in J.Jill’s ability to complete the Annual Report by the original due date of May 1, 2020. On April 28, 2020, J.Jill filed a Current Report on Form 8-K which stated that it expected to file its Annual Report no later than 45 days after the original due date, in compliance with the provisions of the Order.

 

3


PART I

Item 1. Business

In this Annual Report, unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, references to the “Company,” “J.Jill,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to J.Jill, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries. We operate on a 52- or 53-week fiscal year that ends on the Saturday that is closest to January 31. Each fiscal year generally is comprised of four 13-week fiscal quarters, although in the years with 53 weeks, the fourth quarter represents a 14-week period. References in this Annual Report to “Fiscal Year 2020” refer to the fiscal year ending January 30, 2021, “Fiscal Year 2019” refer to the fiscal year ended February 1, 2020, references to “Fiscal Year 2018” refer to the fiscal year ended February 2, 2019, and references to “Fiscal Year 2017” refer to the fiscal year ended February 3, 2018. Fiscal Years 2019 and 2018 are comprised of 52 weeks and Fiscal Year 2017 is comprised of 53 weeks.

Company Overview

J.Jill is a premier omnichannel retailer and nationally recognized women’s apparel brand committed to delighting customers with great wear-now product. The brand represents an easy, thoughtful and inspired style that reflects the confidence of remarkable women who live life with joy, passion and purpose. J.Jill offers a guiding customer experience through more than 280 stores nationwide and a robust ecommerce platform. J.Jill is headquartered outside Boston.

Brand

We have developed a differentiated brand image that encourages customers to build deep, personal connections with our brand. Our brand promise to the J.Jill customer is to delight her with great wear-now product, to inspire her confidence through J.Jill’s approach to dressing and to provide her with friendly, guiding service wherever and whenever she chooses to shop. We use our key brand attributes - Naturally Authentic, Thoughtfully Engaging, Relaxed Femininity, Positive Energy and Confident Simplicity - to guide brand messaging, which is consistently communicated to our customers, whether she chooses to shop on our www.jjill.com website, in our retail stores or through our catalog.

Customer

While women of all ages are attracted to our brand, our targeted customer is 45 years and older, is college educated and has an annual household income of approximately $150,000. She leads a busy, yet balanced life, as she works outside the home, is involved in her community and has a family with children. She values comfort, ease and versatility in her wardrobe, in addition to quality fabrics and thoughtful details. She is fashion conscious and looks to J.Jill to interpret current trends relevant to her needs and lifestyle. She is tech savvy, but also loves the J.Jill store experience and frequently engages with us across all channels.

As our customers increase their tenure with our brand, they tend to spend more and purchase more frequently. Additionally, as we retain customers over time, they tend to migrate from single channel customers to more valuable omnichannel customers. Omnichannel customers comprised 22% of our active customer base for Fiscal Year 2019, 22% for Fiscal Year 2018, and 23% in Fiscal Year 2017.

Product

Our Products

Our products are marketed under the J.Jill brand name and sold primarily through our retail and direct channels. Our diverse assortment of apparel spans knit and woven tops, bottoms and dresses as well as sweaters and outerwear. We also offer a range of complementary footwear and accessories, including scarves, jewelry and hosiery. By presenting our merchandise in clear product stories, we strive to uncomplicate fashion, providing comfortable, easy and versatile collections that enable our customer to dress confidently for a broad range of occasions. Our products are available across the full range of sizes including Misses, Petites, Women’s and Tall, and reflect a modern balance of style, quality, comfort and ease at accessible price points. The core products of our assortment are designed and merchandised in-house, grounded with essential yet versatile styles and fabrications that are typically represented across a season. Assortments are updated each month with fresh colors, layering options, novelty and fashion. In addition to our core assortment, we have two sub-brands as extensions of our brand aesthetic and our customer lifestyle needs:

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Pure Jill:  Our Pure Jill sub-brand reflects the art of understated ease. It is designed with a clear focus and minimalist approach to style, and reflected in simple shapes, unstructured silhouettes, interesting textures, soft natural fabrics and artful details.

Wearever:  Our Wearever sub-brand consists of our refined rayon jersey knit collection that is designed for work, travel and home. It has a foundational collection of versatile shapes and proportions, in solids and prints that mix easily to provide endless options that work together. These soft knits are easy care and wrinkle-free, and always look great.

We also offer accessories in unique, versatile and wearable collections.   These accessory collections are primarily driven by scarves and jewelry and seamlessly complete our customer’s wardrobe.

Product Design and Development

We offer 12 merchandise collections that are introduced approximately every four weeks and designed and delivered to provide a consistent flow of fresh products. All of our merchandise is designed in-house, and we create newness through the use of different fabrics, colors, patterns and silhouettes. We introduce each collection simultaneously in our retail stores, on our website and in our catalogs. We support each collection with sequenced floor sets, continuous website updates and corresponding catalog editions in addition to coordinated marketing activities. Our new product development lifecycle typically takes 48 weeks from design concept through delivery. We leverage customer feedback and purchasing data from our customer database along with continual collaborative hindsighting to guide our product and merchandising decision making. The close coordination between our teams ensures that our product and brand message is clearly communicated to our customers across all channels.

Channel

Driven by our direct-to-consumer heritage, we have a well-diversified and profitable omnichannel platform. We strive to deliver a seamless brand experience to our customer, wherever and whenever she chooses to shop across our retail stores, website and catalogs. Our sales channels reinforce one another and drive traffic to each other, and we deliver a consistent brand message by coordinating the release of our monthly product collection across channels, allowing our customers to experience a uniform brand message. We believe that our customers’ buying decisions are influenced by this consistent messaging and experience across sales channels. We consistently work towards migrating customers from a single-channel customer to a more valuable, omnichannel customer over time.

Retail Channel

Our Stores

Our retail channel represented 56.3% of net sales for Fiscal Year 2019. As of February 1, 2020, we operated 287 stores across 42 states with approximately half located in lifestyle centers and the remaining in premium malls; all our stores are leased. Our stores range in size from approximately 2,000 to 6,000 square feet, and the average store is approximately 3,700 square feet.

Our store designs showcase our brand, while elevating and simplifying the J.Jill shopping experience. Our stores provide a welcoming, easy-to-shop format that guides her through clearly merchandised product stories. With natural materials, comfortable fabrics and elegant seating areas, the atmosphere is aspirational, yet attainable. When she cannot find an item in-stock at her local store, our concierge service leverages our in-store ordering platform and ships products to her home.

Site Selection

We believe our store model supports our store footprint in existing markets across the United States and simultaneously enhances our direct channel sales by migrating single-channel customers to omnichannel customers. Potential new store locations are evaluated on various factors, including customer demographics within a market, concentration of existing customers, location of existing stores and center tenant quality and mix. We leverage our customer database, including purchasing history and customer demographics when evaluating our retail store fleet and any potential new locations. Generally, our stores are in high traffic locations with desirable demographic characteristics and favorable lease economics.

5


The following table shows new store openings since Fiscal Year 2015. The stores opened in the last three years were primarily in lifestyle centers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Stores at

 

 

 

Total Stores

 

 

the End of the

 

Store Open Year

 

Opened

 

 

Fiscal Year

 

Fiscal Year 2015

 

 

15

 

 

 

261

 

Fiscal Year 2016

 

 

15

 

 

 

275

 

Fiscal Year 2017

 

 

9

 

 

 

276

 

Fiscal Year 2018

 

 

13

 

 

 

282

 

Fiscal Year 2019

 

 

11

 

 

 

287

 

Direct Channel

Our direct channel, which represented 43.7% of total net sales for Fiscal Year 2019, consists of our website and catalog orders. Within our direct channel, ecommerce represented approximately 92% of Fiscal Year 2019 direct channel net sales and phone orders represented 8% of Fiscal Year 2019 direct channel net sales.

Our website, www.jjill.com, delivers to customers an engaging shopping experience by featuring updates on new collections, guidance on how to wardrobe and wear our products and the ability to chat live with a sales representative.

Our website also provides customers with a broader range of colors and sizes than available in our stores. Additionally, we leverage our website as an inventory clearance vehicle, which allows us to keep our retail store products fresh and representative of our newest collection.

 

Competitive Strengths

Distinct, Well-Recognized Brand. The J.Jill brand represents an easy, thoughtful and inspired style that reflects the confidence of remarkable women who live life with joy, passion and purpose. We have cultivated a differentiated brand and through our commitment to our customer and our brand building activities, we have created significant brand trust and an emotional connection with our customers.

Omnichannel Business. We have developed an omnichannel business model comprised of our retail stores and our direct channel. Our retail and direct channels complement and drive traffic to one another, and we leverage our targeted marketing initiatives to acquire new customers across channels. We consistently work towards migrating customers from a single-channel customer to a more valuable, omnichannel customer over time.

Data-Centric Approach That Drives Consistent Profitability and Mitigates Risk. We believe we have industry-leading data capture capabilities that allow us to match approximately 97% of transactions to an identifiable customer. We use our extensive customer database to track and effectively analyze customer information (e.g., name, address, age, household income and occupation) as well as contact history (e.g., catalog and email). We also have significant visibility into our customers’ transaction behavior (e.g., orders, returns, order value, including purchases made across our channels). As such, we can identify a single-channel customer who purchases a product through our website, our retail store or our catalogs, as well as an omnichannel customer who purchases in more than one channel. We continually leverage this database and apply our insights to operate our business as well as to acquire new customers and then create, build and maintain a relationship with each customer to drive optimum value.

Affluent and Loyal Customer Base. We target an attractive demographic of affluent women 45 years and older. With an average annual household income of approximately $150,000, our customer has significant spending power. Our private label credit card program also drives customer loyalty and encourages spending. We believe we will continue to develop long-term customer relationships that can drive profitable sales growth.

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Customer-Focused Product Assortment. Our customers strongly associate our product with a modern balance of style, quality, comfort and ease suitable for a broad range of occasions at accessible price points. Our customer-focused assortment spans a full range of sizes and is designed to provide easy wardrobing that is relevant to her lifestyle. Each year we offer 12 merchandise collections that are introduced approximately every four weeks and designed and delivered to provide a consistent flow of fresh products. We create product newness through the use of different fabrics, colors, patterns and silhouettes. We have an in-house, customer centric product design and development process that leverages our extensive database of customer feedback and allows us to identify and incorporate changes in our customers’ preferences. We believe our customer focused approach to product development and continual delivery of fresh, high quality products drives traffic, frequency and conversion.

Highly Experienced Leadership Team. In Fiscal Year 2019, there were certain changes to our senior management team, including the replacement of the President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and the hiring of the Senior Vice President of Design. Our leadership team has experience with leading global organizations and on average over 24 years of industry experience with significant expertise in merchandising, marketing, stores, ecommerce, human resources, and finance.

Growth Strategy

Key drivers of our growth strategy include:

Grow Value of Our Customer Base. We have a significant opportunity to continue to attract new customers to our brand and to grow the value of our active customer base across all channels. We believe that our target demographic of women 45 years and older, is relatively underserved by media and the industry.  We are refining our Brand Position to further attract these remarkable women who do not define themselves by age, size, profession, nor confine themselves by artificial boundaries or the expectations of others. We plan to continue positioning our marketing investment to acquire new customers, reactivate lapsed customers, and retain existing customers. Through our various business initiatives, we believe we will continue to attract new customers to our brand, migrate from single-channel to more profitable omnichannel customers and increase overall customer spend.

Increase Direct Sales. Given our strong foundation and continued website enhancements, we believe we can leverage our direct platform to broaden our customer reach and drive additional sales.  We are undertaking initiatives to further develop our website to provide a more personalized shopping experience with more features and services for our customers.  The website also provides enhanced capability to engage customers on mobile devices, improved access to product information and the ability to better connect with the brand on social media.

Profitably Optimize Our Store Base. Based on our proven store economics, we believe that we have a healthy store fleet and we will continuously evaluate new locations in lifestyle centers and premium malls.

Strengthen Omnichannel Capabilities. Our profitable store channel is enhanced by store associates who bridge the experience between the channels by helping our customer access our on-line exclusive product, sign her up for emails, encourage her to seek us out on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, and generally remind her that she can access us many ways.  Concurrently, we remain focused on driving traffic and engagement with our website.  We plan to continue enhancing the website with value-added services and growing our email file while optimizing our email contact strategy, including increased personalization.  We expect that these improvements will facilitate a more cohesive and seamless shopping experience for our customer, wherever and whenever she chooses to shop. We plan to continue leveraging our insight into customer attributes and behavior, which will guide strategic investments in our business.

Enhance Product Assortment. We believe there is an opportunity to improve our productivity by selectively enhancing our assortment in certain product categories, including our Pure Jill and Wearever sub-brands, our Women’s and Petite’s businesses, and accessories.  We also believe we have the opportunity to continue to optimize our assortment architecture by delivering the right mix and flow of fashion and basics to our channels.  In addition, we expect to continue delivering high quality customer focused product assortments across each of our channels, while strengthening visual merchandising and maintaining a balance between newness and core staples. 

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Marketing and Advertising

We leverage a variety of marketing and advertising vehicles to increase brand awareness, acquire new customers, drive customer traffic across our channels, and strengthen and reinforce our brand image. These include promotional mailings, email communications, digital and print advertisements and public relations initiatives. We leverage our customer database to strategically optimize the value of our marketing investments across customer segments and channels. This enables us to productively acquire new customers, effectively market to existing customers, increase customer retention levels and reactivate lapsed customers.

Our catalogs are an integral part of our business along with digital and social media. As one of our primary marketing vehicles, our catalogs promote and reinforce our brand image and drive customer acquisition and engagement across all of our channels. As on our website and in our retail stores, our catalogs reflect our product offering in settings that align with our merchandise segments, including our sub-brands, and provide guidance on styling and wardrobing. Our catalogs are designed in-house, providing us greater creative control as well as effectively managing our production costs.

We reinforce a consistent brand message by coordinating the release of our monthly collection across our retail stores, website and catalogs, allowing our customers to experience a uniform brand message wherever and whenever she chooses to shop. We also engage in a wide range of other marketing and advertising strategies to promote our brand, including media coverage in specialty publications and magazines.

We offer a private label credit card program through an agreement with Comenity Capital Bank (“ADS”), under which they own the credit card receivables. All credit card holders receive invitations to exclusive customer events and promotions including special purchase events four times per year, a special offer for her birthday, and a 5% discount when purchases are made on the card. We promote the benefits of the credit card throughout our retail stores, our website and our catalogs through banner ads, signage and customer service and selling associate representatives. Additionally, we leverage regional print advertising to promote the card and its benefits to new and existing customers. We believe that our credit card program encourages customer loyalty, repeat visits and additional spending. In Fiscal Year 2019, 55% of our gross sales were generated by our credit card holders.

Sourcing and Supply Strategy

We outsource the manufacturing of our products. In order to efficiently source our products, we work primarily with agents who represent suppliers and factories. In Fiscal Year 2019 approximately 80% of our products were sourced through agents and 20% were sourced directly from suppliers and factories. We currently work with three primary agents that help us identify quality suppliers and coordinate our manufacturing requirements. Additionally, the agents manage the development of samples of merchandise produced in the factories, inspect finished merchandise, ensure the timely delivery of goods and carry out other administrative and oversight functions on our behalf. We source the remainder of our products by interacting directly with suppliers and factories both domestically and abroad.

Agents work with approximately 27 suppliers on our behalf. We source our merchandise globally from seven countries with the top three by volume being China, India and Vietnam. No single supplier accounts for more than 20% of merchandise purchased.

We have been evaluating our supply chain and product development processes, and are planning to evolve our go-to-market calendar to ensure we offer relevant, wear-now product. We have no long-term merchandise supply contracts as we typically transact business on an order-by-order basis to maintain flexibility. We believe our strong relationships with suppliers have provided us with the ability to negotiate favorable pricing terms, further improving our overall cost structure and profitability. Our dedicated sourcing team actively negotiates and manages product costs to deliver initial mark-up objectives. The team further focuses on quality control to ensure that merchandise meets required technical specifications and inspects the merchandise to ensure it meets our strict standards, including regular in-line inspections while goods are in production. Upon receipt, merchandise is further inspected on a test basis for consistency in cut, size and color, as well as for conformity with specifications and overall quality of manufacturing. Our sourcing team ensures that the customer has a consistent product and satisfying brand experience regardless of product size, color or collection.

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Omnichannel Distribution and Customer Contact Center

We lease our 520,000 square foot distribution and customer contact center in Tilton, New Hampshire. The facility manages the receipt, storage, sorting, packing and distribution of merchandise for our retail and direct channels. Retail stores are replenished from this facility and shipped by third-party delivery services, providing our retail stores with a steady flow of new inventory that helps to maintain product freshness. Our distribution system is designed to operate in an efficient and cost-effective manner, including our ability to profitably support individual direct orders which we believe differentiates ourselves from our competitors. In Fiscal Year 2019, the distribution center handled 41 million units, split between 20 million retail (49%) and 21 million direct (51%), and we believe this facility is sufficient to support our future growth.

The customer contact center is an extension of our brand, providing a consistent customer experience at every stage of a purchase across all of our channels. In Fiscal Year 2019, we managed approximately 4.5 million customer interactions through our in-house customer contact center in Tilton, New Hampshire. Our customer contact center is responsible for nearly all live customer interactions, other than in retail stores, including order taking and further serves as an important feedback loop in gathering customer responses to our brand, product and service. We continue to refine and improve our contact center strategy and experience to support the constantly evolving digital landscape.

Information Systems

We use information systems to support business intelligence and processes across our sales channels. We continue to invest in information systems and technology to enhance the customer experience and create operating efficiencies. We utilize third-party providers for customer database and customer campaign management, ensuring efficient maintenance of information in a secure, backed-up environment.

Seasonality

While the retail business is generally seasonal in nature, we have historically not experienced significant seasonal fluctuations in our sales. Our merchandise offering drives consistent sales across seasons with no quarter contributing more than 27% of total annual net sales in Fiscal Year 2019.

Competition

The women’s apparel industry is highly competitive. We compete with local, national and international retail chains and department stores, specialty and discount stores, catalogs and internet businesses offering similar categories of merchandise. We compete primarily on the basis of design, service, quality and value. We believe our distinct combination of design, service, quality and value allows us to compete effectively and we believe we differentiate ourselves from competitors based on the strength of our brand, our omnichannel platform, our strong data capabilities, our loyal customer base, our customer-focused product assortment and our highly experienced leadership team. Our competitors range from smaller, growing companies to considerably larger companies with substantially greater financial, marketing and other resources.

Employees

As of February 1, 2020, we employed 1,400 full-time and 2,348 part-time employees. Of these employees, 315 are employed in our headquarters in Quincy, Massachusetts, 3,025 are employed in our retail stores and 408 work in our distribution and customer contact center and administrative office in Tilton, New Hampshire. The number of employees, particularly part-time employees, fluctuates depending upon seasonal needs.

Our employees are not represented by a labor union and are not party to a collective bargaining agreement. We consider our relations with our employees to be good.

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Intellectual Property

Our trademarks are important to our marketing efforts. We own or have the rights to use certain trademarks, service marks and trade names that are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or other foreign trademark registration offices or exist under common law in the United States and other jurisdictions. Trademarks that are important in identifying and distinguishing our products and services include, but are not limited to, J.Jill®, The J.Jill Wearever Collection® and Pure Jill®. Our rights to some of these trademarks may be limited to select markets. We also own domain names, including www.jjill.com.

Corporate Information

We were originally organized as Jill Intermediate LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, in February 2011. On February 24, 2017, we completed transactions pursuant to which we converted into a Delaware corporation and changed our name to J.Jill, Inc. Our principal executive office is located at 4 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169, and our telephone number is (617) 376-4300.

Item 1A. Risk Factors

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

 

The coronavirus pandemic may continue to adversely affect our business operations, store traffic, employee availability, financial condition, liquidity and cash flow.

 

The outbreak of the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) continues to have a significant negative impact in the United States and globally, and related government and private sector responsive actions may adversely affect our business operations. It is impossible to predict the ongoing effect and ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as the situation is rapidly evolving.

 

The spread of COVID-19 has caused public health officials to recommend precautions to mitigate the spread of the virus, especially when congregating in heavily populated areas, such as malls and shopping centers. In addition, as previously announced, we temporarily closed all stores beginning March 18, 2020 in response to the escalating COVID-19 outbreak. While we have begun reopening stores as guidance from government and health authorities permit there remains significant uncertainty around the ongoing impact of COVID-19, as well as its impact on the U.S. economy, consumer willingness to visit malls and shopping centers, and employee willingness to staff our stores as they reopen. In addition, a resurgence of COVID-19 in the future could result in renewed precautions, such as store closings or other measures that would adversely impact our business.

 

As previously disclosed, on March 16, 2020, we provided notice to the lenders under the ABL Facility to borrow an aggregate principal amount of $33.0 million under the ABL Facility. We borrowed under the ABL Facility as a precautionary measure to increase our cash position and preserve financial flexibility in light of the current uncertainty in the global markets resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

The extent to which COVID-19 impacts our results will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including new information which may emerge concerning the severity of COVID-19 and the actions taken to contain it or treat its impact.

 

The uncertainty created by recent events generate scenarios that raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern within one year after the date the financial statements are issued. See “— Substantial doubt exists as to our ability to continue as a going concern.” Under the terms of both the ABL Facility and the Term Loan Agreement, the inclusion of substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern in the report of our independent registered public accounting firm on our accompanying financial statements for the fiscal year ended February 1, 2020 results in a violation of affirmative covenants under our ABL Facility and Term Loan Agreement., which could, among other things, result in our lenders under the ABL Facility and Term Loan Agreement declaring the principal of and accrued interest on all outstanding indebtedness immediately due and payable and terminating all remaining commitments and obligations under the credit facilities.

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Substantial doubt exists as to our ability to continue as a going concern.

 

The consolidated financial statements included herein have been prepared on a going concern basis, which assumes that we will continue to operate in the normal course of business. The temporary closure of our stores and continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows, financial position and liquidity which will also result in a failure by us to comply with the financial covenants contained in our ABL Facility and Term Loan Agreements. On May 15, 2020, the Company began reopening its stores and as of the issuance date, approximately half of its stores have been reopened in accordance with local government guidelines. The Company expects to continue reopening stores in a phased approach as more states reopen for retail. There is significant uncertainty around the duration of these store closures and other business disruptions related to COVID-19. These factors along with the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and how consumer shopping patterns will change during and after the pandemic raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking aggressive and prudent actions to reduce expenses and defer payment of accounts payables, lease liabilities and inventory purchases to preserve cash on hand. These actions include, but are not limited to:

 

temporary furlough of substantially all retail employees for the duration of store closures at their location and subject to reduced staffing for a phase-in period upon reopening;

 

base salary reductions for our senior leadership team and suspension of pay raise for corporate employees;

 

extension of payment terms for all accounts payable other than those necessary to support our ecommerce business;

 

withholding payment of approximately $12.0 million of rent for all of our retail locations beginning in April 2020 subject to discussion with our landlords;

 

extended payment terms with merchandising vendors;

 

eliminated one of our catalogs and are considering implementing this as a permanent change;

 

limiting investments in our ecommerce business to necessary website and supporting functions; and

 

suspension of nearly all capital expenditures.

 

Additionally, we borrowed $33.0 million under our ABL Facility in March 2020. We are seeking to amend our ABL Facility to provide for further incremental borrowings. No assurances can be given as to when or if the Company will succeed in obtaining the amendment. We also filed an income tax refund for $7.7 million with the IRS related to the provision under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) enacted in March 2020 that provides numerous tax provisions and other stimulus measures, including temporary suspension of certain payment requirements for the employer-paid portion of social security taxes, the creation of certain refundable employee retention credits, and technical corrections from prior tax legislation for tax depreciation of certain qualified improvement property. The Company has elected to defer the employer-paid portion of social security taxes beginning with pay dates on and after April 1, 2020. We continue to evaluate the provisions of the CARES Act and the ways in which it could assist our business and improve our liquidity.

 

The Company was in compliance with financial covenants as of February 1, 2020. However, the inclusion of substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern in the report of our independent registered public accounting firm on our accompanying financial statements for the fiscal year ended February 1, 2020 results in a violation of affirmative covenants under our ABL Facility and Term Loan Agreement. If we are unable to obtain a waiver from our lenders, our lenders could instruct the administrative agent under such credit facilities to exercise available remedies including, declaring the principal of and accrued interest on all outstanding indebtedness immediately due and payable and terminating all remaining commitments and obligations under the credit facilities. Although the lenders under our credit facilities may waive the defaults or forbear the exercise of remedies, they are not obligated to do so. Failure to obtain such a waiver would have a material adverse effect on the liquidity, financial condition and results of operations and may result in filing a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in order to implement a restructuring plan.

 

 

There is significant uncertainty around the disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy. While our results of operations have been significantly impacted and we anticipate our future results will continue to be adversely impacted, the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our future results will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with certainty, including new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, actions taken to contain it or treat its impact,

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any possible resurgence of COVID-19 that may occur after the initial outbreak subsides, and how quickly and to what extent normal economic and operating conditions can resume.

Our business is sensitive to economic conditions and consumer spending.

We face numerous business risks relating to macroeconomic factors.  The retail industry is cyclical and consumer purchases of discretionary retail items, including our merchandise, generally decline during recessionary periods and other times when disposable income is lower.  Factors impacting discretionary consumer spending include general economic conditions, wages and employment, consumer debt, reductions in net worth based on severe market declines, residential real estate and mortgage markets, taxation, volatility of fuel and energy prices, interest rates, consumer confidence, political and economic uncertainty and other macroeconomic factors.  Deterioration in economic conditions or increasing unemployment levels may reduce the level of consumer spending and inhibit consumers’ use of credit, which may adversely affect our revenues and profits.  In recessionary periods and other periods where disposable income is adversely affected, we may have to increase the number of promotional sales or otherwise dispose of inventory for which we have previously paid to manufacture, which could further adversely affect our profitability.  It is difficult to predict when or for how long any of these conditions can affect our business and a prolonged economic downturn could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our inability to anticipate and respond to changing customer preferences and shifts in fashion and industry trends in a timely manner could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our success largely depends on our ability to consistently gauge tastes and trends and provide a balanced assortment of merchandise that satisfies customer demands in a timely manner.  We enter into agreements to manufacture and purchase our merchandise well in advance of the applicable selling season and our failure to anticipate, identify or react appropriately in a timely manner to changes in customer preferences, tastes and trends and economic conditions could lead to, among other things, missed opportunities, excess inventory or inventory shortages, markdowns and write-offs, all of which could negatively impact our profitability and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.  Failure to respond to changing customer preferences and fashion trends could also negatively impact our brand image with our customers and result in diminished brand loyalty.

Our inability to maintain our brand image, engage new and existing customers and gain market share could have a material adverse effect on our growth strategy and our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our ability to maintain our brand image and reputation is integral to our business, as well as the implementation of our strategy to grow.  Maintaining, promoting and growing our brand will depend largely on the success of our design, merchandising and marketing efforts and our ability to provide a consistent, high-quality customer experience.  Our reputation could be jeopardized if we fail to maintain high standards for merchandise quality and integrity and any negative publicity about these types of concerns may reduce demand for our merchandise.  While our brand enjoys a loyal customer base, the success of our growth strategy depends, in part, on our ability to keep existing customers engaged as well as attract new customers to shop our brand.  If we experience damage to our reputation or loss of consumer confidence, we may not be able to retain existing customers or acquire new customers, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our inability to manage our inventory levels and merchandise mix, including with respect to our omnichannel retail operations, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Customer demand is difficult to predict and the lead times required for a substantial portion of our merchandise make it challenging to respond quickly to changes.  Though we have the ability to source certain merchandise categories with shorter lead times, we generally enter into contracts for a substantial portion of our merchandise well in advance of the applicable selling season.  Our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected if we are unable to manage inventory levels and merchandise mix and respond to changes in customer demand patterns.  Inventory levels in excess of customer demand may result in lower than planned profitability.  On the other hand, if we underestimate demand for our merchandise, we may experience inventory shortages resulting in missed sales and lost revenues.  Either of these events could significantly affect our operating results and brand image and loyalty.  Our profitability may also be impacted by changes in our merchandise mix and changes in our pricing.  These changes could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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In addition, our omnichannel operations create additional complexities in our ability to manage inventory levels, as well as certain operational issues in stores and on our website, including timely shipping and returns.  Accordingly, our success depends to a large degree on continually evolving the processes and technology that enable us to plan and manage inventory levels and fulfill orders, address any related operational issues in store and on our website and further align channels to optimize our omnichannel operations.  If we are unable to successfully manage these complexities, it may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Competitive pressures from other retailers as well as adverse structural developments in the retail sector may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The women’s apparel industry is highly competitive.  We compete with local, regional, national and international retail chains and department stores, specialty and discount stores, catalogs, internet and ecommerce businesses offering similar categories of merchandise.  We face a variety of competitive challenges, including price pressure, anticipating and quickly responding to changing customer demands or preferences, maintaining favorable brand recognition and effectively marketing our merchandise to our customers in diverse demographic markets, sourcing merchandise efficiently and developing merchandise assortments in styles that appeal to our customers in ways that favorably distinguish us from our competitors.  In addition, new and enhanced technologies, including search, web and infrastructure computing services, digital content, and electronic devices, may increase our competition.  The internet and other new technologies facilitate competitive entry and comparison shopping, and increased competition may reduce our sales and profits.  We strive to offer an omnichannel shopping experience for our customers that enhances their shopping experiences.  Omnichannel retailing is constantly evolving and we must keep pace with changing customer expectations and new developments by our competitors.  Furthermore, many of our competitors have advantages over us, including substantially greater financial, marketing and other resources.  Increased levels of promotional activity by our competitors, some of whom may be able to adopt more aggressive pricing policies than we can, both on our website and in stores, may negatively impact our sales and profitability.  There can be no assurances that we will be able to compete successfully with these companies in the future.  In addition to competing for sales, we compete for favorable store locations, lease terms and qualified sales associates and professional staff.  Increased competition in these areas may result in higher costs and reduced profitability, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may be unable to accurately forecast our operating results and growth rate, which may adversely affect our reported results.

We may not be able to accurately forecast our operating results and growth rate.  We use a variety of factors in our forecasting and planning processes, including historical results, recent history and assessments of economic and market conditions, among other things.  The growth rates in sales and profitability that we have experienced historically may not be sustainable as our active customer base expands and we achieve higher market penetration rates, and our percentage growth rates may decrease.  The growth of our sales and profitability depends on the continued growth of demand for the merchandise we offer.  A softening of demand, whether caused by changes in customer preferences or a weakening of the economy or other factors, may result in decreased net sales or growth.  Furthermore, many of our expenses and investments are fixed, and we may not be able to adjust our spending in a timely manner to compensate for any unexpected shortfall in our net sales results.  Failure to accurately forecast our operating results and growth rate could cause our actual results to be materially lower than anticipated, and if our growth rates decline as a result, investors’ perceptions of our business may be adversely affected, and the market price of our common stock could decline.

Our inability to successfully optimize our omnichannel operations and maintain a relevant and reliable omnichannel experience for our customers could have an adverse effect on our growth strategy and our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Growing our business through our omnichannel operations is key to our growth strategy.  Our goal is to offer our customers seamless access to our merchandise across our channels, including both our direct and retail channels.  Accordingly, our success depends on our ability to anticipate and implement innovations in sales and marketing strategies to appeal to existing and potential customers who increasingly rely on multiple channels, such as ecommerce, to meet their shopping needs.  Failure to enhance our technology and marketing efforts to align with our customers’ developing shopping preferences could significantly impair our ability to meet our strategic business and financial goals.  If we do not successfully optimize our omnichannel operations or if they do not achieve their intended objectives, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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We depend on our ecommerce business and failure to successfully manage this business and deliver a seamless omnichannel shopping experience to our customers could have an adverse effect on our growth strategy and our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Sales through our direct channel, of which our ecommerce business constitutes the vast majority, accounted for approximately 43.7% of our total net sales for Fiscal Year 2019.  Our business, financial condition and results of operations are dependent on maintaining our ecommerce business and expanding this business is an important part of our strategy to grow through our omnichannel operations.  Dependence on our ecommerce business and the continued growth of our direct and retail channels subjects us to certain risks, including:

 

the failure to successfully implement new systems, system enhancements and internet platforms;

 

the failure of our technology infrastructure or the computer systems that operate our website and their related support systems, causing, among other things, website downtimes, telecommunications issues or other technical failures;

 

the reliance on third-party computer hardware/software providers;

 

rapid technological change;

 

liability for online content;

 

violations of federal, state, foreign or other applicable laws, including those relating to data protection;

 

credit card fraud;

 

cyber security and vulnerability to electronic break-ins and other similar disruptions; and

 

diversion of traffic and sales from our stores.

Our failure to successfully address and respond to these risks and uncertainties could negatively impact sales, increase costs, diminish our growth prospects and damage the reputation of our brand, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business depends on effective marketing and increasing customer traffic and the success of our direct channel depends on customers’ use of our website and response to catalogs and digital marketing.

We have many initiatives in our marketing programs.  If our competitors increase their spending on marketing, if our marketing expenses increase, if our marketing becomes less effective than that of our competitors, or if we do not adequately leverage technology and data analytics needed to generate concise competitive insight, we could experience a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.  A failure to sufficiently innovate or maintain adequate and effective marketing strategies could inhibit our ability to maintain brand relevance and increase sales.

In particular, the level of customer traffic and volume of customer purchases through our direct channel, which accounted for approximately 43.7% of our net sales for Fiscal Year 2019, is substantially dependent on our ability to provide a content-rich and user-friendly website, widely distributed and informative catalogs, a fun, easy and hassle-free customer experience and reliable delivery of our merchandise.  If we are unable to maintain and increase customers’ use of our ecommerce platform, and the volume of purchases declines, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Customer response to our catalogs and digital marketing is substantially dependent on merchandise assortment, merchandise availability and creative presentation, as well as the selection of customers to whom our catalogs are sent and to whom our digital marketing is directed, changes in mailing strategies and the size of our mailings.  Our maintenance of a robust customer database has also been a key component of our overall strategy.  If the performance of our website, catalogs and email declines, or if our overall marketing strategy is not successful, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We occupy our stores under long-term leases, which are subject to future increases in occupancy costs and which we may be unable to renew or may limit our flexibility to move to new locations.

We lease all of our store locations, our corporate headquarters and our distribution and customer contact center.  We typically occupy our stores under operating leases with terms of up to ten years, which may include options to renew for additional multi-year periods thereafter.  We depend on cash flow from operations to pay our lease expenses.  If our business does not generate sufficient cash flow from operating activities to fund these expenses, we may not be able to service our lease expenses, which could materially harm our business.  In the future, we may not be able to negotiate favorable lease terms.  Our inability to do so may cause our occupancy costs to be higher in future years or may force us to close stores in

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desirable locations.  If we are unable to renew our store leases, we may be forced to close or relocate a store, which could subject us to significant construction and other costs.  Closing a store, for even a brief period to permit relocation, would reduce the revenue contribution of that store.  Additionally, the revenue and profit, if any, generated at a relocated store may not equal the revenue and profit generated at the previous location.

Long-term leases can limit our flexibility to move a store to a new location.  Some of our leases have early cancellation clauses, which permit the lease to be terminated if certain sales levels are not met in specific periods, whereas some of our leases are non-cancelable.  If an existing or future store is not profitable, and we have the right to close it, we may nonetheless be committed to perform our obligations under the applicable lease including, among other things, paying the base rent for the balance of the lease term.  Moreover, even if a lease has an early cancellation clause, we may not satisfy the contractual requirements for early cancellation under that lease.  Our inability to enter into new leases or renew existing leases on terms acceptable to us or be released from our obligations under leases for stores that we close could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our growth strategy depends in part on our ability to open and operate new retail stores on a profitable basis and if we are not successful in implementing future retail store expansion, or if such new stores would negatively impact sales from our existing stores or from our direct channel, our growth and profitability could be adversely impacted.

Our growth strategy depends in part on our ability to open and operate new retail stores on a profitable basis.  We may be unable to identify and open new retail locations in desirable places in the future.  We compete with other retailers and businesses for suitable retail locations.  Local land use, local zoning issues, environmental regulations, governmental permits and approvals and other regulations may affect our ability to find suitable retail locations and also influence the cost of leasing them.  We also may have difficulty negotiating real estate leases for new stores on acceptable terms.  In addition, construction, environmental, zoning and real estate delays may negatively affect retail location openings and increase costs and capital expenditures.  If we are unable to open new retail store locations in desirable places and on favorable terms, our net sales and profits could be materially adversely affected.

As we expand our store base, our lease expense and our cash outlays for rent under the lease terms will increase.  Such growth will require that we continue to expand and improve our operating capabilities, including making investments in our information technology and operational infrastructure, and expand, train and manage our employee base, and we may be unable to do so.  We primarily rely on cash flow generated from our operations to pay our lease expenses and to fund our growth initiatives.  It requires a significant investment to open a new retail store.  If we open a large number of stores relatively close in time, the cost of these retail store openings and lease expenses and the cost of continuing operations could reduce our cash position.  If our business does not generate sufficient cash flow from operating activities to fund these expenses, we may not have sufficient cash available to address other aspects of our business or we may be unable to service our lease expenses, which could materially harm our business.

As we increase the number of retail stores, our stores may become more highly concentrated in geographic regions we already serve.  As a result, the number of customers and related net sales at individual stores may decline and the payback period may be increased.  The growth in the number of our retail stores could also draw customers away from our direct business and if our competitors open stores with similar formats, our retail store format may become less unique and may be less attractive to customers as a shopping destination.  If either of these events occurs, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

There can be no assurances that we will be able to achieve our store expansion goals, nor can there be any assurances that our newly opened stores will achieve revenue or profitability levels comparable to those of our existing stores in the time periods estimated by us.  In addition, the substantial management time and resources which our retail store expansion strategy requires may result in disruption to our existing business operations which may decrease our profitability.  If our stores fail to achieve, or are unable to sustain, acceptable revenue, profitability and cash flow levels, we may incur store asset impairment charges, significant costs associated with closing those stores or both, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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We rely on third-party service providers, such as Federal Express and the U.S. Postal Service, for the delivery of our merchandise and our catalogs.

We primarily utilize Federal Express to support retail store shipping.  We also use the U.S. Postal Service to deliver millions of catalogs each year, and we depend on third parties to print and mail our catalogs.  As a result, postal rate increases and paper and printing costs will affect the cost of our catalog and promotional mailings.  We rely on discounts from the basic postal rate structure, such as discounts for bulk mailings and sorting.  The operational and financial difficulties of the U.S. Postal Service are well documented.  Any significant and unanticipated increase in postage, shipping costs, reduction in service, slow-down in delivery or increase in paper and printing costs could impair our ability to deliver merchandise and catalogs in a timely or economically efficient manner and could adversely impact our profitability if we are unable to pass such increases directly on to our customers or if we are unable to implement more efficient delivery and order fulfillment systems, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Competitive pricing pressures with respect to shipping our merchandise to our customers may harm our business and results of operations.

Historically, the shipping and handling fees we charge our direct customers are intended to recover the related shipping and handling expenses.  Online and omnichannel retailers are increasing their focus on delivery services, as customers are increasingly seeking faster, guaranteed delivery times and low-price or free shipping.  To remain competitive, we may be required to offer discounted, free or other more competitive shipping options to our customers, which may result in declines in our shipping and handling fees and increased shipping and handling expense.  Declines in the shipping and handling fees that we generate may have a material adverse effect on our profitability to the extent that our shipping and handling expense is not declining proportionally, or if our shipping and handling expense would increase, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to payment-related risks.

We accept payments using a variety of methods, including credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, cash and bank checks.  For existing and future payment methods we offer to our customers, we may become subject to additional regulations and compliance requirements (including obligations to implement enhanced authentication processes that could result in increased costs and reduce the ease of use of certain payment methods), as well as fraud.  For certain payment methods, including credit and debit cards, we pay interchange and other fees, which may increase over time, thereby raising our operating costs and lowering profitability.  We rely on third-party service providers for payment processing services, including the processing of credit and debit cards.  In each case, it could disrupt our business if these third-party service providers become unwilling or unable to provide these services to us.  We are also subject to payment card association operating rules, including data security rules, certification requirements and rules governing electronic funds transfers, which could change or be reinterpreted to make it difficult or impossible for us to comply.  If we fail to comply with these rules or requirements, or if our data security systems are breached or compromised, we may be liable for card issuing banks’ and others’ costs, subject to fines and higher transaction fees and/or lose our ability to accept credit and debit card payments from our customers and process electronic funds transfers or facilitate other types of payments.  Any of these developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we fail to acquire new customers in a cost-effective manner, it could have an adverse impact on our growth strategy as we may not be able to increase net revenue or profit per active customer.

The success of our growth strategy depends in part on our ability to acquire new customers in a cost-effective manner.  In order to expand our active customer base, we must appeal to and acquire customers who identify with our brand.  We have made significant investments related to customer acquisition and expect to continue to spend significant amounts to acquire additional customers.  As our brand becomes more widely known in the market, future marketing campaigns may not result in the acquisition of new customers at the same rate as past campaigns.  There can be no assurances that the revenue from new customers we acquire will ultimately exceed the cost of acquiring those customers.

 

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We use paid and non-paid advertising.  Our paid advertising includes catalogs, paid search engine marketing, email, display and other advertising.  Our non-paid advertising efforts include search engine optimization and social media.  We obtain a significant amount of traffic via search engines and, therefore, rely on search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing.  Search engines frequently update and change the logic that determines the placement and display of results of a user’s search, such that the purchased or algorithmic placement of links to our site can be negatively affected.  A major search engine could change its algorithms in a manner that negatively affects our paid or non-paid search ranking, and competitive dynamics could impact the effectiveness of search engine marketing or search engine optimization.  We also obtain traffic via social networking websites or other channels used by our current and prospective customers.  As ecommerce and social networking continue to rapidly evolve, we must continue to establish relationships with these channels and may be unable to develop or maintain these relationships on acceptable terms.  Additionally, digital advertising costs may continue to rise and as our usage of these channels expands, such costs may impact our ability to acquire new customers in a cost-effective manner.  If the level of usage of these channels by our active customer base does not grow as expected, we may suffer a decline in customer growth or net sales.  If we are unable to acquire new customers in a cost-effective manner, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Interruptions in our foreign sourcing operations and the relationships with our suppliers and agents could disrupt production, shipment or receipt of our merchandise, which would result in lost sales and increased costs.

We do not own or operate any manufacturing facilities and therefore depend upon independent third-party suppliers for the manufacturing of all of our merchandise, primarily through the use of agents.  In Fiscal Year 2019, approximately 80% of our products were sourced through agents and approximately 20% were sourced directly from suppliers and factories.  Our merchandise is manufactured to our specifications primarily by factories outside of the United States.  Some of the factors that might affect a supplier’s ability to ship orders of our merchandise in a timely manner or to meet our quality standards are outside of our control, including inclement weather, natural disasters, political and financial instability, legal and regulatory developments, strikes, health concerns regarding infectious diseases (such as the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus), and acts of terrorism.  Inadequate labor conditions, health or safety issues in the factories where goods are produced can negatively impact our brand’s reputation.  Late delivery of merchandise or delivery of merchandise that does not meet our quality standards could cause us to miss the delivery date requirements of our customers or delay timely delivery of merchandise to our stores for those items.  These events could cause us to fail to meet customer expectations, cause our customers to cancel orders or cause us to be unable to deliver merchandise in sufficient quantities or of sufficient quality to our stores, which could result in lost sales.

We have no long-term merchandise supply contracts as we typically transact business on an order-by-order basis.  If we are unable to maintain the relationships with our suppliers and agents and are unexpectedly required to change suppliers or agents, or if a key supplier or agent is unable or unwilling to supply acceptable merchandise in sufficient quantities on acceptable terms, we could experience a significant disruption in the supply of merchandise.  We could also experience operational difficulties with our suppliers, such as reductions in the availability of production capacity, supply chain disruptions, errors in complying with merchandise specifications, insufficient quality control, shortages of fabrics or other raw materials, failures to meet production deadlines or increases in manufacturing costs.

We source our imported merchandise from six countries with the top three by volume including China, India, and the Philippines. Approximately 90% of our products were sourced in southeast Asia in Fiscal Year 2019.  Any event causing a sudden disruption of manufacturing or imports from Asia or elsewhere, including the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and the imposition of additional import restrictions, could materially harm our operations.  For example, the Trump Administration has imposed tariffs on certain foreign goods from a variety of countries and regions, including China, and has raised the possibility of imposing additional tariff increases or expanding the tariffs to capture. In response, many of these foreign governments, including China, have imposed retaliatory tariffs on goods that their countries import from the United States. Although there has been a partial first phase trade deal between the United States and China, there can be no certainty whether any further trade deals or relaxation or elimination of trade tariffs will occur or upon what terms. Additionally, there can be no assurance that additional or new trade tensions and tariffs will not arise between various trade partners, including, among others, the United States and China. These potential developments, market perceptions concerning these and related issues and the attendant regulatory uncertainty regarding, for example, the posture of governments with respect to international trade, could have a material adverse effect on global trade and economic growth which, in turn, can adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, many of our imports are subject to existing or potential duties, tariffs or quotas that may limit the quantity of certain types of goods that may be imported into the United States from countries in Asia or elsewhere.  We compete with other companies for production facilities and import quota capacity.  While substantially all of our foreign purchases of our merchandise are negotiated and paid for in U.S. dollars, the cost of our merchandise may be affected by fluctuations in the value of relevant

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foreign currencies. In addition, we are engaging in growing the amount of production carried out in other developing countries.  These countries may present other risks with regard to infrastructure available to support manufacturing, labor and employee relations, political and economic stability, corruption, regulatory, environmental, health and safety compliance.  While we endeavor to monitor and audit facilities where our production is done, any significant events with factories we use can adversely impact our reputation, brand and product delivery.

Furthermore, many of our suppliers rely on working capital financing to support their operations.  To the extent any of our suppliers are unable to obtain adequate credit or their borrowing costs increase, we may experience delays in obtaining merchandise, our suppliers increasing their prices or our suppliers modifying payment terms in a manner that is unfavorable to us.

If the recent outbreak of COVID-19 results in a prolonged period of travel, commercial and other similar restrictions, or a delay in production or distribution operations at any or all of the Company’s suppliers’ facilities, we could experience significant supply chain disruptions. We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis, but it is currently unknown whether the outbreak will meaningfully disrupt the Company’s merchandise shipments or impact manufacturing at any of the Company’s suppliers’ plants. If we experience significant supply chain disruptions, the Company may not be able to develop alternate sourcing quickly on favorable terms, if at all, which could result in increased costs, loss of sales and a loss of customers, and adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.

The failure of our suppliers to comply with our social compliance program requirements could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

We require our third-party suppliers to comply with all applicable laws and regulations, as well as our Terms of Engagement-Commitment to Ethical Sourcing, which cover many areas, including labor, health, safety, environmental and other legal standards.  We monitor compliance with these standards using third-party monitoring firms.  Although we have an active program to provide training for our third-party suppliers and monitor their compliance with these standards, we do not control the suppliers or their practices.  Any failure of our third-party suppliers to comply with our ethical sourcing standards or labor or other local laws in the country of manufacture, or the divergence of a third-party supplier’s labor practices from those generally accepted as ethical in the United States, could disrupt the shipment of merchandise to our stores, force us to locate alternative manufacturing sources, reduce demand for our merchandise, damage our reputation and/or expose us to potential liability for their wrongdoings.  Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

We rely on third parties to provide services in connection with certain aspects of our business, and any failure by these third parties to perform their obligations could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We have entered into agreements with third parties that include, but are not limited to, logistics services, information technology systems (including hosting our website), servicing certain customer calls, software development and support, catalog production, select marketing services, distribution and employee benefits servicing.  Services provided by third-party suppliers could be interrupted as a result of many factors, such as acts of nature or contract disputes.  Any failure by a third party to provide services for which we have contracted on a timely basis or within expected service level and performance standards could result in a disruption of our business and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Increases in the demand for, or the price of, cotton and other raw materials used to manufacture our merchandise or other fluctuations in sourcing or distribution costs could increase our costs and negatively impact our profitability.

We believe that we have strong supplier relationships, and we work continuously with our suppliers to manage cost increases.  Our overall profitability depends, in part, on the success of our ability to mitigate rising costs or shortages of raw materials used to manufacture our merchandise.  Cotton and other raw materials used to manufacture our merchandise are subject to availability constraints and price volatility impacted by a number of factors, including supply and demand for fabrics, weather, government regulations, economic climate and other unpredictable factors.  In addition, our sourcing costs may fluctuate due to labor conditions, transportation or freight costs, energy prices, currency fluctuations or other unpredictable factors.  The cost of labor at many of our third-party suppliers has been increasing in recent years, and we believe it is unlikely that such cost pressures will abate.

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Most of our merchandise is shipped from our suppliers by ocean vessel.  If a disruption occurs in the operation of ports through which our merchandise is imported, we may incur increased costs related to air freight or use of alternative ports.  Shipping by air is significantly more expensive than shipping by ocean and our margins and profitability could be reduced.  Shipping to alternative ports could also lead to delays in receipt of our merchandise.  We rely on third-party shipping companies to deliver our merchandise to us.  Failures by these shipping companies to deliver our merchandise to us or lack of capacity in the shipping industry could lead to delays in receipt of our merchandise or increased expense in the delivery of our merchandise.  Any of these developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Reductions in the volume of mall traffic or the closing of shopping malls as a result of changing economic conditions or demographic patterns could significantly reduce our sales and leave us with unsold inventory.

A significant portion of our stores are currently located in shopping malls.  Sales at stores located in malls are highly dependent on the traffic in those malls and the ability of developers to generate traffic near our stores.  In recent years, there has been increased purchasing of merchandise online.  This has adversely affected mall traffic.  A continuation of this trend could adversely impact the sales generated by our mall stores, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Unseasonal or severe weather conditions may adversely affect our merchandise sales.

Our business is adversely affected by unseasonal weather conditions.  Sales of certain seasonal apparel items are dependent in part on the weather and may decline when weather conditions do not favor the use of this apparel.  Severe weather events may also impact our ability to supply our retail stores, deliver orders to customers on schedule and staff our retail stores and distribution and customer contact center, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Material damage to, or interruptions in, our information systems could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, and we may be exposed to risks and costs associated with protecting the integrity and security of our customers’ information.

We depend largely upon our information technology systems in the conduct of all aspects of our operations, including to operate our website, process transactions, respond to customer inquiries, manage inventory, purchase, sell and ship goods on a timely basis and maintain cost-efficient operations.  Such systems are subject to damage or interruption from power outages, computer and telecommunications failures, computer viruses, security breaches and natural disasters.  Damage or interruption to our information technology systems may require a significant investment to fix or replace the affected system, and we may suffer interruptions in our operations in the interim.  In addition, costs and potential problems and interruptions associated with the implementation of new or upgraded systems and technology or with maintenance or adequate support of existing systems could also disrupt or reduce the efficiency of our operations.

Additionally, a significant number of customer purchases across our omnichannel platform are made using credit cards, and a significant number of our customer orders are placed through our website.  We process, store and transmit large amounts of data, including personal information, for our customers.  From time to time, we may implement strategic initiatives related to elevating our customer service experience, such as customer membership programs, where we collect and maintain increasing amounts of customer data.  We also handle and transmit sensitive information about our suppliers and workforce, including social security numbers, bank account information and health and medical information.  We depend in part throughout our operations on the secure transmission of confidential information over public networks.  In addition, security breaches can also occur as a result of non-technical issues, including vandalism, catastrophic events and human error.  Our operations may further be impacted by security breaches that occur at third-party suppliers.  Although we maintain cyber-security insurance, there can be no assurances that our insurance coverage will be sufficient, or that insurance proceeds will be paid to us in a timely manner.

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States and the federal government have enacted additional laws and regulations to protect consumers against identity theft, including laws governing treatment of personally identifiable information.  As the data privacy and security laws and regulations evolve, we may be subject to more extensive requirements to protect the customer information that we process in connection with the purchases of our merchandise.  There can be no assurances that we will be able to operate our operations in accordance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), other industry recommended practices or applicable laws and regulations or any future security standards or regulations, or that meeting those standards will in fact prevent a data breach.  These laws have increased the costs of doing business and, if we fail to implement appropriate safeguards or we fail to detect and provide prompt notice of unauthorized access as required by some of these laws, we could be subject to potential claims for damages and other remedies.

If a third party is able to circumvent our security measures, they could destroy or steal valuable information or disrupt our operations.  Because techniques used to obtain unauthorized access or to sabotage systems change frequently and often are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures.  Any security breach could expose us to risks of data loss, fines, litigation and liability and could seriously disrupt our operations and harm our reputation.  In addition, we could be required to expend significant resources to change our business practices or modify our service offerings in connection with the protection of personally identifiable information, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The impact of privacy breaches at service providers could also severely damage our business and reputation.

We rely heavily on technology services provided by third parties for the successful operation of our business, including electronic messaging, digital marketing efforts and the collection and retention of customer data and associate information.  We also rely on third parties to process credit card transactions, perform ecommerce and social media activities and retain data relating to our financial position and results of operations, strategic initiatives and other important information.  The facilities and systems of our third-party service providers may be vulnerable to cyber-security breaches, acts of vandalism, computer viruses, misplaced or lost data, programming and/or human errors or other similar events.  Any actual or perceived misappropriation, loss or other unauthorized disclosure of confidential or personally identifiable information by our third-party service providers could severely damage our reputation and our relationship with our customers, associates and investors as well as expose us to risks of litigation, liability or other penalties, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The protection of our data, which includes both potential cyber-attacks as well as any potential failure to comply with data protection laws and regulations, could subject us to sanctions and damages and could harm our reputation and business.

We collect and process personal data as part of our business.  As a result, we are subject to U.S. data protection laws and regulations at both the federal and state levels.  The legislative and regulatory landscape for data protection continues to evolve, and in recent years there has been an increasing focus on privacy and data security issues.  The strategic use of our customer data base, including interactions with our customers, marketing efforts and analysis of customer behavior, rely on the collection, retention and use of customer data and may be affected by these laws and regulations and their interpretation and enforcement.  Alleged violations of laws, regulations or contractual obligations relating to privacy and data protection, and any relevant claims, may expose us to potential liability, require us to expend significant resources in responding to and defending such allegations and claims, and result in negative publicity and a loss of confidence in us by our customers, all of which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.  Further, it is unclear how the laws and regulations relating to the collection, process and use of personal data will further develop in the United States, and to what extent this may affect our operations in the future.  Any failure to comply with data protection laws and regulations, or future changes required to the way in which we use personal data could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, information security threats, particularly cyber security threats, could pose risks to the security of our systems and networks, and the confidentiality, availability and integrity of our data. As techniques used in cyber-attacks evolve, we may not be able to timely detect threats or anticipate and implement adequate security measures. Our information technology systems and databases have been and will continue to be subject to computer viruses, malware attacks, unauthorized user attempts, phishing and denial of service and other cyber-attacks.  Any potential breach of our information technology systems and databases could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.  

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Increased usage of social media poses reputational risks.

As use of social media becomes more prevalent, our susceptibility to risks related to social media increases.  The immediacy of social media precludes us from having real-time control over postings made regarding us via social media, whether matters of fact or opinion.  Information distributed via social media could result in immediate unfavorable publicity for which we, like our competitors, do not have the ability to reverse.  This unfavorable publicity could result in damage to our reputation and therefore have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We depend on our executive management and key personnel and may not be able to retain or replace these employees or recruit additional qualified personnel, which could harm our business.

The loss of the services of any of our senior executives could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, as we may not be able to find suitable management personnel to replace departing executives on a timely basis.  In addition, we believe that our future success will depend greatly on our continued ability to attract and retain highly skilled and qualified personnel.  There is a high level of competition for personnel in the retail industry.  Our inability to meet our staffing requirements in the future could impair our ability to increase revenue and could otherwise harm our business.

Our failure to find store employees that reflect our brand image and embody our culture could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our success depends in part upon our ability to attract, motivate and retain a sufficient number of store employees, including store managers, who understand and appreciate our culture and customers, and are able to adequately and effectively represent this culture and establish credibility with our customers.  The store employee turnover rate in the retail industry is generally high.  Labor shortages and excessive store employee turnover will result in higher employee costs associated with finding, hiring and training new store employees.  If we are unable to hire and retain store personnel capable of consistently providing a high level of customer service, our ability to open new stores and operate existing stores may be impaired and our performance and brand image may be negatively impacted.  Competition for such qualified individuals and wage increases by other retailers could require us to pay higher wages to attract a sufficient number of employees.  We are also dependent upon temporary personnel to adequately staff our stores and distribution and customer contact center, with heightened dependence during busy periods such as the holiday season.  There can be no assurances that there will be sufficient sources of suitable temporary personnel to meet our demand.  Any such failure to meet our staffing needs or any material increases in employee turnover rates could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Labor organizing and other activities could negatively impact us.

Currently, none of our employees are represented by a union.  However, our employees have the right at any time to form or affiliate with a union.  Such organizing activities could lead to work slowdowns or stoppages, which could lead to disruption in our operations and increases in our labor costs, either of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Increases in labor costs, including wages, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The labor costs associated with our retail stores and our distribution and customer contact center are subject to many external factors, including unemployment levels, prevailing wage rates, minimum wage laws, potential collective bargaining arrangements, health insurance costs and other insurance costs and changes in employment and labor legislation or other workplace regulation.  From time to time, legislative proposals are made to increase the federal minimum wage in the United States, as well as the minimum wage in a number of individual states and municipalities, and to reform entitlement programs, such as health insurance and paid leave programs.  As minimum wage rates increase or related laws and regulations change, our labor costs may increase.  Any increase in the cost of our labor could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations or if we fail to pay such higher wages we could suffer increased employee turnover.  Increases in labor costs could force us to increase prices, which could adversely impact our sales.  If competitive pressures or other factors prevent us from offsetting increased labor costs by increases in prices, our profitability may decline and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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We could be materially and adversely affected if our distribution and customer contact center is damaged or closed or if its operations are diminished.

Our distribution and customer contact center is located in Tilton, New Hampshire.  The distribution center manages the receipt, storage, sorting, packing and distribution of merchandise to our stores and to our direct customers.  Independent third-party transportation companies then deliver merchandise from the distribution center to our stores or direct to our customers.  The customer contact center handles all customer interactions, other than those in retail stores, including phone sales orders and service calls, emails and internet contacts.  Any significant interruption in the operations of our Tilton distribution and customer contact center, our third-party distribution, fulfillment or transportation providers, for any reason, including natural disasters, accidents, inclement weather, technology system failures, work stoppages, slowdowns or strikes or other unforeseen events and circumstances, such as the novel coronavirus outbreak, could delay or impair our ability to receive orders and to distribute merchandise to our stores and/or our customers.  This could lead to inventory issues, increased costs, lower sales and a loss of loyalty to our brand, among other things, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Inventory shrinkage could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to the risk of inventory loss and theft.  Although our inventory shrinkage rates have not been material, or fluctuated significantly in recent years, there can be no assurances that actual rates of inventory loss and theft in the future will be within our estimates or that the measures we are taking will effectively reduce inventory shrinkage.  Although some level of inventory shrinkage is an unavoidable cost of doing business, if we were to experience higher rates of inventory shrinkage or incur increased security costs to combat inventory theft, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may be unable to protect our trademarks and other intellectual property rights.

We believe that our trademarks and service marks are important to our success and our competitive position due to their name recognition with our customers.  We devote substantial resources to the establishment and protection of our trademarks and service marks.  We are not aware of any valid claims of infringement or challenges to our right to use any of our trademarks and service marks.  Nevertheless, there can be no assurances that the actions we have taken to establish and protect our trademarks and service marks will be adequate to prevent imitation of our merchandise by others or to prevent others from seeking to block sales of our merchandise as a violation of the trademarks, service marks and intellectual property of others.  Also, others may assert rights in, or ownership of, our trademarks and other intellectual property and we may not be able to successfully resolve these types of conflicts to our satisfaction.

We may be subject to liability if we infringe upon the intellectual property rights of third parties.

Third parties may sue us for alleged infringement of their proprietary rights.  The party claiming infringement might have greater resources than we do to pursue its claims, and we could be forced to incur substantial costs and devote significant management resources to defend against such litigation.  If the party claiming infringement were to prevail, we could be forced to discontinue the use of the related trademark or design and/or pay significant damages or enter into expensive royalty or licensing arrangements with the prevailing party, assuming these royalty or licensing arrangements are available at all on an economically feasible basis, which they may not be.  We could also be required to pay substantial damages.  Such infringement claims could harm our brand.  In addition, any payments we are required to make and any injunction we are required to comply with as a result of such infringement could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which we operate and changes to the regulatory environment in which we operate or failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business requires compliance with many laws and regulations in the United States and abroad, including, without limitation, labor and employment, tax, environmental, privacy, anti-bribery laws and regulations, trade laws and customs, truth-in-advertising, ecommerce, consumer protection and zoning and occupancy laws and ordinances that regulate retailers generally and/or govern the importation, promotion and sale of merchandise and the operation of stores and warehouse facilities.  In addition, in the future, there may be new legal or regulatory requirements or more stringent interpretations of applicable requirements, which could increase the complexity of the regulatory environment in which we operate and the related cost of compliance.  While it is our policy and practice to comply with all legal and regulatory requirements and our

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procedures and internal controls are designed to ensure such compliance, failure to achieve compliance could subject us to lawsuits and other proceedings, and could also lead to damage awards, fines and penalties.  Litigation matters may include, among other things, government and agency investigations, employment, commercial, intellectual property, tort, advertising and stockholder claims.  We cannot predict with certainty the outcomes of these legal proceedings and other contingencies.  The outcome of some of these legal proceedings, audits and other contingencies could require us to take, or refrain from taking, actions which could negatively affect our operations or require us to pay substantial amounts of money adversely affecting our business, financial condition and results of operations.  Even a claim of an alleged violation of applicable laws or regulations could negatively affect our reputation.  Additionally, defending against these lawsuits and proceedings may be necessary, which could result in substantial costs and diversion of management’s attention and resources, causing a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.  Any pending or future legal proceedings and audits could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Changes in tax laws and regulations or in our operations may impact our effective tax rate and may adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.

Changes in tax laws in any of the multiple jurisdictions in which we operate, or adverse outcomes from tax audits that we may be subject to in any of the jurisdictions in which we operate, could result in an unfavorable change in our effective tax rate, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.  Changes in tax laws, such as the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, may result in uncertainty as to how tax laws will be applied to us and require us to perform computations that were not required previously.

We source the majority of our merchandise from manufacturers located outside of the U.S., including a significant amount from Asia.  Developments in tax policy or trade relations, such as the disallowance of tax deductions for imported merchandise or the imposition of tariffs on imported products, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and liquidity. War, terrorism, civil unrest or other violence may negatively impact availability of merchandise and/or otherwise adversely impact our business.

In the event of war, terrorism, civil unrest or other violence, our ability to obtain merchandise available for sale in our stores or on our websites may be negatively impacted.  A substantial portion of our merchandise is imported from other countries, see “—Interruptions in our foreign sourcing operations and the relationships with our suppliers and agents could disrupt production, shipment or receipt of our merchandise, which would result in lost sales and could increase our costs.” If commercial transportation is curtailed or substantially delayed, our business may be adversely impacted, as we may have difficulty shipping merchandise to our distribution and customer contact center and stores, as well as fulfilling catalog and website orders.  In addition, our stores are located in public areas where large numbers of people typically gather.  Terrorist attacks, threats of terrorist attacks or civil unrest involving public areas could cause people not to visit areas where our stores are located. Other types of violence in malls or in other public areas could lead to lower customer traffic in areas in which we operate stores.  If any of these events were to occur, we may be required to suspend operations in some or all of our stores, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The terms of our term loan credit agreement and asset-based revolving credit facility restrict our operational and financial flexibility, which could adversely affect our ability to respond to changes in our business and to manage our operations.

Our term loan credit agreement, dated as of May 8, 2015, by and among Jill Holdings, Inc. (as successor to Jill Holdings LLC), Jill Acquisition LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of us, the various lenders party thereto and Jefferies Finance LLC as the administrative agent, as amended on May 27, 2016 by Amendment No. 1 thereto (the “Term Loan Agreement”) and our ABL credit agreement, dated as of May 8, 2015, by and among Jill Holdings, Inc. (as successor to Jill Holdings LLC), Jill Acquisition LLC, certain subsidiaries from time to time party thereto, the lenders party thereto and CIT Finance LLC as the administrative agent and collateral agent, as amended on May 27, 2016 by Amendment No. 1 thereto, as further amended on August 22, 2018 by Amendment No. 2 to reduce the frequency of borrowing base certificate submissions as long as certain conditions are maintained and as further amended on June 12, 2019 by Amendment No. 3 to extend the term date to May 8, 2023 (the “ABL Facility” and, together with the Term Loan, the “Credit Agreements”), each contain, and any additional debt financing we may incur would likely contain, covenants that restrict our operations, including limitations on our ability to grant liens, incur additional debt, pay dividends, cause our subsidiaries to pay dividends to us, make certain investments and engage in certain merger, consolidation or asset sale transactions.  A failure by us to comply with the covenants contained in our Credit Agreements could result in an event of default under each respective Credit Agreement, which could adversely affect our ability to respond to changes in our business and manage our operations.  Upon the occurrence of an event of default, the lenders could elect to declare all amounts outstanding to be immediately due and payable and exercise other remedies as set forth in our Credit Agreements.  If the indebtedness under our Credit Agreements

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were to be accelerated, our future financial condition could be materially adversely affected.  See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Credit Facilities.”

Changes to estimates related to our property, fixtures and equipment or operating results that are lower than our current estimates at certain store locations may cause us to incur impairment charges on certain long-lived assets, which may adversely affect our results of operations.

In accordance with accounting guidance as it relates to the impairment of long-lived assets, we make certain estimates and projections with regard to individual store operations, as well as our overall performance, in connection with our impairment analyses for long-lived assets.  When impairment triggers are deemed to exist for any location, the estimated undiscounted future cash flows are compared to its carrying value.  If the carrying value exceeds the undiscounted cash flows, an impairment charge equal to the difference between the carrying value and the fair value is recorded.  The projections of future cash flows used in these analyses require the use of judgment and a number of estimates and projections of future operating results.  If actual results differ from our estimates, additional charges for asset impairments may be required in the future.  If future impairment charges are significant, our reported operating results would be adversely affected.

Goodwill and identifiable intangible assets represent a significant portion of our total assets and any impairment of these assets could adversely affect our results of operations.

Our goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets, which consist of goodwill from the controlling interest in the company held by JJill Holdings, Inc. and JJill Topco Holdings, LP, and our trade name, represented a significant portion of our total assets as of February 1, 2020.  Accounting rules require the evaluation of our goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets for impairment at least annually, or more frequently when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of such assets may not be recoverable.  Such indicators are based on market conditions and the operational performance of our business.

To test goodwill for impairment, we may initially use a qualitative approach to determine whether conditions exist to indicate that it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value.  If our management concludes, based on its assessment of relevant events, facts and circumstances that it is more likely than not that a reporting unit’s carrying value is greater than its fair value, then a quantitative analysis will be performed to determine if there is any impairment.  We also have the option to bypass the qualitative assessment and proceed directly to the quantitative assessment. The quantitative assessment requires comparing the fair value of a reporting unit to its carrying value, including goodwill. We estimate the fair value of reporting units using the income approach. The income approach uses a discounted cash flow model, which involves significant estimates and assumptions, including preparation of revenue and profitability growth forecasts, selection of a discount rate, and selection of a terminal year multiple.  The estimates of fair value of reporting units are based on the best information available as of the date of the assessment. If the fair value of a reporting unit exceeds its carrying amount, goodwill is not considered to be impaired and no further testing is required. If the carrying amount exceeds the reporting unit’s fair value, a goodwill impairment charge is recognized for the amount in excess, not to exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit.

To test our other indefinite-lived assets for impairment, which consists of our trade name, we determine the fair value of our trade name using the relief-from-royalty method, which estimates the present value of royalty income that could be hypothetically earned by licensing the brand name to a third party over the remaining useful life.  If in conducting an impairment evaluation we determine that the carrying value of an asset exceeded its fair value, we would be required to record a non-cash impairment charge for the difference between the carrying value and the fair value of the asset.  If a significant amount of our goodwill and identifiable intangible assets were deemed to be impaired, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

Changes in accounting standards and subjective assumptions, estimates and judgments by management related to complex accounting matters could significantly affect our financial results or financial condition.

Generally accepted accounting principles and related accounting pronouncements, implementation guidelines and interpretations with regard to a wide range of matters that are relevant to our business, including but not limited to revenue recognition, business combinations, impairment of goodwill, indefinite-lived intangible assets and long-lived assets, inventory and equity-based compensation, are highly complex and involve many subjective assumptions, estimates and judgments.  Changes in these rules or their interpretation or changes in underlying assumptions, estimates or judgments could significantly change our reported or expected financial performance or financial condition.

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Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock

We are an “emerging growth company,” and are taking advantage of reduced disclosure requirements applicable to “emerging growth companies,” which could make our common stock less attractive to investors.

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or JOBS Act, and, for as long as we continue to be an “emerging growth company,” we intend to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements applicable to other public companies but not to “emerging growth companies.” These exemptions include not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive if we choose to rely on these exemptions.  If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result of any choices to reduce future disclosure, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile.

We will continue to incur significant costs and devote substantial management time as a result of operating as a public company, particularly after we are no longer an “emerging growth company.

As a public company, we will continue to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses.  For example, we are required to comply with certain of the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as rules and regulations subsequently implemented by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the NYSE, our stock exchange, including the establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls and changes in corporate governance practices.  Compliance with these requirements will result in significant legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time consuming and costly.  In addition, our management and other personnel will need to divert attention from operational and other business matters to devote substantial time to these public company requirements.

However, for as long as we remain an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act, we intend to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies” including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved.  We intend to take advantage of these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an “emerging growth company.”

Under the JOBS Act, “emerging growth companies” can delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies.  We have elected to avail ourselves of this exemption from new or revised accounting standards and, therefore, while we are an “emerging growth company” we will not be subject to new or revised accounting standards at the same time that they become applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies”. Accordingly, we will incur additional costs in connections with complying with the accounting standards applicable to public companies at such time or times as they become applicable to us.

After we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” we expect to incur additional management time and cost to comply with the more stringent reporting requirements applicable to companies that are deemed accelerated filers or large accelerated filers, including complying with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

If we are unable to design, implement and maintain effective internal controls in accordance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, it could have a material adverse effect on our business and stock price.

As a public company, we have significant requirements for enhanced financial reporting and internal controls.  The process of designing and implementing effective internal controls is a continuous effort that requires us to anticipate and react to changes in our business and the economic and regulatory environments and to expend significant resources to maintain a system of internal controls that is adequate to satisfy our reporting obligations as a public company.  If we are unable to maintain appropriate internal financial reporting controls and procedures, it could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations on a timely basis, result in material misstatements in our consolidated financial statements and harm our operating results.  In addition, we are required, pursuant to Section 404A of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, to furnish a report by management on, among other things, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. This assessment includes disclosure

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of any material weaknesses identified by our management in our internal control over financial reporting. Testing and maintaining internal controls may divert our management’s attention from other matters that are important to our business.  We may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

A material weakness was identified in our internal control over financial reporting which, if not remediated, could adversely affect our business, reputation and stock price.

Management has identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting as a result of which management has concluded that our internal control over financial reporting and our disclosure controls and procedures were not effective as of February 1, 2020. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. The Company did not appropriately design and maintain controls related to the accounting for goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible asset impairments. Specifically, the Company did not design and maintain control activities over the review of the carrying value of reporting units or assets used in the analysis. We have taken and are taking certain remedial steps to improve our internal control over financial reporting. For further discussion of the material weakness identified and our remedial efforts, see Item 9A, Controls and Procedures.

If we are unable to successfully remediate our existing material weakness or any future material weaknesses or other deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting, the accuracy and timing of our financial reporting may be adversely affected; our liquidity, our access to capital markets, the perceptions of our creditworthiness, and our ability to complete acquisitions may be adversely affected; we may be unable to maintain compliance with applicable securities laws, The NYSE listing requirements, and the covenants under our debt instruments regarding the timely filing of periodic reports; we may be subject to regulatory investigations and penalties; investors may lose confidence in our financial reporting; we may suffer defaults, accelerations, or cross-accelerations under our debt instruments to the extent we are unable to obtain waivers from the required creditors or counterparties or are unable to cure any breaches; and our stock price may decline.

We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the NYSE rules and, as a result, qualify for and intend to rely on exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements.

TowerBrook Capital Partners LP controls a majority of the voting power of our outstanding voting stock, and as a result we are a controlled company within the meaning of the NYSE corporate governance standards.  Under the NYSE rules, a company of which more than 50% of the voting power is held by another person or group of persons acting together is a controlled company and may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements, including the requirements that:

 

a majority of the board of directors consist of independent directors;

 

the nominating and corporate governance committee be composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities;

 

the compensation committee be composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities; and

 

there be an annual performance evaluation of the nominating and corporate governance and compensation committees.

These requirements do not apply to us as long as we remain a controlled company.  Accordingly, you may not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of the NYSE.

We continue to be controlled by TowerBrook, and TowerBrook’s interests may conflict with our interests and the interests of other stockholders.

TowerBrook owns approximately 60% of our common stock.  As a result, TowerBrook will have effective control over the outcome of votes on all matters requiring approval by our stockholders, including entering into significant corporate transactions such as mergers, tender offers and the sale of all or substantially all of our assets and issuance of additional debt or equity.  In addition, as long as TowerBrook beneficially owns at least 50% of our common stock, the Stockholders Agreement provides TowerBrook with veto rights with respect to certain material matters.  The interests of TowerBrook and its affiliates could conflict with or differ from our interests or the interests of our other stockholders.  For example, the concentration of ownership held by TowerBrook could delay, defer or prevent a change of control of our company or impede a merger, takeover or other business combination which may otherwise be favorable for us.  Additionally, TowerBrook is in

26


the business of making investments in companies and may, from time to time, acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete, directly or indirectly with us.  TowerBrook may also pursue acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business, and as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us.  So long as TowerBrook continues to directly or indirectly own a significant amount of our equity, even if such amount is less than 50%, TowerBrook will continue to be able to substantially influence or effectively control our ability to enter into corporate transactions.

Our certificate of incorporation contains a provision renouncing our interest and expectancy in certain corporate opportunities.

Our certificate of incorporation provides for the allocation of certain corporate opportunities between us and TowerBrook.  Under these provisions, neither TowerBrook, its portfolio companies, funds or other affiliates, nor any of their officers, directors, agents, stockholders, members or partners have any duty to refrain from engaging, directly or indirectly, in the same business activities, similar business activities or lines of business in which we operate.  For instance, a director of our company who also serves as a director, officer, partner or employee of TowerBrook or any of its portfolio companies, funds or other affiliates may pursue certain acquisitions or other opportunities that may be complementary to our business and, as a result, such acquisition or other opportunities may not be available to us.  These potential conflicts of interest could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects if attractive corporate opportunities are allocated by TowerBrook to itself or its portfolio companies, funds or other affiliates instead of to us.  

Provisions in our organizational documents and Delaware law may discourage our acquisition by a third party.

Our certificate of incorporation authorizes our board of directors to issue preferred stock without stockholder approval.  If the board of directors elects to issue preferred stock, it could be more difficult for a third party to acquire us.  In addition, some provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire control of us, even if the change of control would be beneficial to our stockholders.

Section 203 of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware (the “DGCL”) affects the ability of an “interested stockholder” to engage in certain business combinations, for a period of three years following the time that the stockholder becomes an “interested stockholder.” We have elected in our certificate of incorporation not to be subject to Section 203 of the DGCL.  Nevertheless, our certificate of incorporation contains provisions that have the same effect as Section 203 of the DGCL, except that it provides that affiliates of TowerBrook and their transferees will not be deemed to be “interested stockholders,” regardless of the percentage of our voting stock owned by them, and will therefore not be subject to such restrictions.  These charter provisions may limit the ability of third parties to acquire control of our company.  

We are a holding company and rely on dividends, distributions and other payments, advances and transfers of funds from our subsidiaries to meet our obligations.

We are a holding company that does not conduct any business operations of our own.  As a result, we are largely dependent upon cash dividends and distributions and other transfers from our subsidiaries to meet our obligations.  The agreements governing the indebtedness of our subsidiaries impose restrictions on our subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends or other distributions to us.  See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Credit Facilities.” The deterioration of the earnings from, or other available assets of, our subsidiaries for any reason could also limit or impair their ability to pay dividends or other distributions to us.

Future sales of our common stock in the public market, or the perception in the public market that such sales may occur, could reduce our stock price.

We have 44,288,127 outstanding shares of common stock as of February 1, 2020.  The number of outstanding shares of common stock includes 31,222,347 shares, including shares controlled by TowerBrook, that are “restricted securities,” as defined under Rule 144 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and eligible for sale in the public market subject to the requirements of Rule 144. Sales of significant amounts of stock in the public market could adversely affect prevailing market prices of our common stock.

27


There can be no assurances that a viable public market for our common stock will be maintained.

An active, liquid and orderly trading market for our common stock may not be maintained.  Active, liquid and orderly trading markets usually result in less price volatility and more efficiency in carrying out investors’ purchase and sale orders.  We cannot predict the extent to which investor interest in our common stock will lead to the maintenance of an active trading market on the NYSE or otherwise or how liquid that market might continue to be.  If an active public market for our common stock is not sustained, it may be difficult for you to sell your shares at a price that is attractive to you or at all.

Our stock price has been and may continue to be volatile.

The market price of our common stock could vary significantly as a result of a number of factors, some of which are beyond our control.  In the event of a drop in the market price of our common stock, you could lose a substantial part or all of your investment in our common stock.  The following factors could affect our stock price:

 

our operating and financial performance;

 

quarterly variations in the rate of growth (if any) of our financial indicators, such as net income per share, net income and revenues;

 

the public reaction to our press releases, our other public announcements and our filings with the SEC;

 

strategic actions by our competitors;

 

changes in operating performance and the stock market valuations of other companies;

 

announcements related to litigation;

 

our failure to meet revenue or earnings estimates made by research analysts or other investors;

 

changes in revenue or earnings estimates, or changes in recommendations or withdrawal of research coverage, by equity research analysts;

 

speculation in the press or investment community;

 

sales of our common stock by us or our stockholders, or the perception that such sales may occur;

 

changes in accounting principles, policies, guidance, interpretations or standards;

 

additions or departures of key management personnel;

 

actions by our stockholders;

 

general market conditions;

 

domestic and international economic, legal and regulatory factors unrelated to our performance; and

 

the realization of any risks described under this “Risk Factors” section, or other risks that may materialize in the future.

The stock markets in general have experienced extreme volatility that has often been unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies. These broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the trading price of our common stock.  Securities class action litigation has often been instituted against companies following periods of volatility in the overall market and in the market price of a company’s securities. In Fiscal Year 2017, we, certain of our officers and directors, and the underwriters of our initial public offering were named as defendants in securities class actions purportedly brought on behalf of purchasers of our common stock. Any future securities class actions, if instituted against us, could result in substantial costs, divert our management’s attention and resources and harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we cannot regain compliance with the NYSE’s continuing listing requirements and rules, the NYSE may delist our common stock, which could negatively affect our company, the price of our common stock and your ability to sell our common stock.

On March 6, 2020, we received notice from the NYSE informing us that we were no longer in compliance with the NYSE continued listing standards set forth in Section 802.01B of the NYSE’s Listed Company Manual due to the fact that our average global market capitalization over a consecutive 30 trading-day period was less than $50 million and, at the same time, our shareholders’ equity was less than $50 million.

28


In accordance with the NYSE listing requirements, we have submitted a plan that demonstrates how we expect to return to compliance with Section 802.01B. We received notification on June 5, 2020 that our submitted plan was accepted by the NYSE. There can be no assurances that the Company will maintain compliance with the plan. If we are unable to comply with the plan or we are unable to meet the continued listing standards by November 15, 2021, we will be subject to the prompt initiation of NYSE suspension and delisting procedures.

On March 24, 2020, we received notice from the NYSE informing us that we were no longer in compliance with the NYSE continued listing standards set forth in Section 802.01C of the NYSE’s Listed Company Manual due to the fact that our average closing share price over a consecutive 30 trading-day period was less than $1. The Company has until December 3, 2020 to regain compliance with the minimum share price requirement.

If we are unable to satisfy the NYSE criteria for continued listing, our common stock would be subject to delisting. A delisting of our common stock could negatively impact us by, among other things, reducing the liquidity and market price of our common stock; reducing the number of investors willing to hold or acquire our common stock, which could negatively impact our ability to raise equity financing; decreasing the amount of news and analyst coverage of us; and limiting our ability to issue additional securities or obtain additional financing in the future.  In addition, delisting from the NYSE may negatively impact our reputation and, consequently, our business.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business or publish negative reports, our stock price could decline.

The trading market for our common stock will be influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us or our business.  If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.  Moreover, if one or more of the analysts who cover our company downgrades our common stock or if our operating results do not meet their expectations, our stock price could decline.

The issuance by us of additional shares of common stock or convertible securities may dilute your ownership of us and could adversely affect our stock price.

We have filed registration statements with the SEC on Form S-8 providing for the registration of 6,701,818 shares of our common stock issued or reserved for issuance to our employees.  Subject to the satisfaction of vesting conditions, shares registered under the registration statements on Form S-8 will be available for resale immediately in the public market without restriction.  From time to time in the future, we may also issue additional shares of our common stock or securities convertible into common stock pursuant to a variety of transactions, including acquisitions.  The issuance by us of additional shares of our common stock or securities convertible into our common stock would dilute your ownership of us and the sale of a significant amount of such shares in the public market could adversely affect prevailing market prices of our common stock.

We may issue preferred stock whose terms could adversely affect the voting power or value of our common stock.

Our certificate of incorporation authorizes us to issue, without the approval of our stockholders, one or more classes or series of preferred stock having such designations, preferences, limitations and relative rights, including preferences over our common stock respecting dividends and distributions, as our board of directors may determine.  The terms of one or more classes or series of preferred stock could adversely impact the voting power or value of our common stock.  For example, we might grant holders of preferred stock the right to elect some number of our directors in all events or on the happening of specified events or the right to veto specified transactions.  Similarly, the repurchase or redemption rights or liquidation preferences we might assign to holders of preferred stock could affect the residual value of the common stock.

Our designation of the Delaware Court of Chancery as the exclusive forum for certain types of stockholder legal proceedings could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a more favorable forum.

Our certificate of incorporation provides that unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, be the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers, employees or agents to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws or (iv) any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine, in each such case subject to such Court of

29


Chancery having personal jurisdiction over the indispensable parties named as defendants therein.  Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock will be deemed to have notice of, and consented to, the provisions of our certificate of incorporation described in the preceding sentence.  This choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees or agents, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and such persons.  See “Description of Capital Stock—Forum Selection.” Alternatively, if a court were to find these provisions of our certificate of incorporation inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs that we do not currently anticipate associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2. Properties

We are headquartered in Quincy, Massachusetts. Our principal executive offices are leased under a lease agreement expiring in December 2026, with options to renew thereafter. Our 520,000 square foot distribution and customer contact center, located in Tilton, New Hampshire, supports both our retail and direct channels and is leased under a lease agreement expiring in September 2030, with options to renew thereafter. We consider these properties to be in good condition and believe that our facilities are adequate for operations and provide sufficient capacity to meet our anticipated future requirements.

As of February 1, 2020, we operated 287 stores in 42 states. Of these stores, approximately half are located in lifestyle centers and half in premium malls. The average size of our stores is approximately 3,700 square feet. All of our retail stores are leased from third parties and new stores historically have had terms of ten years. The weighted-average remaining lease term is 7.2 years. A portion of our leases have options to renew for periods up to five years. Generally, store leases contain standard provisions concerning the payment of rent, events of default and the rights and obligations of each party. Rent due under the leases is generally comprised of annual base rent plus a contingent rent payment based on the store’s sales in excess of a specified threshold. Some of the leases also contain early termination options, which can be exercised by us or the landlord under certain conditions. The leases also generally require us to pay real estate taxes, insurance and certain common area costs. We renegotiate with landlords to obtain more favorable terms as opportunities arise.

The current terms of our leases expire as follows:

 

Fiscal Years Lease Terms Expire

 

Number of Stores

 

2020 – 2022

 

 

79

 

2023 – 2025

 

 

95

 

2026 – 2028

 

 

73

 

2029 and later

 

 

40

 

 

30


The table below sets forth the number of retail stores by state that we operated as of February 1, 2020.

 

 

 

Number

 

 

 

 

Number

 

 

 

 

Number

 

State

 

of Stores

 

 

State

 

of Stores

 

 

State

 

of Stores

 

Alabama

 

 

6

 

 

Kentucky

 

 

2

 

 

New York

 

 

12

 

Arizona

 

 

6

 

 

Louisiana

 

 

5

 

 

North Carolina

 

 

9

 

Arkansas

 

 

3

 

 

Maine

 

 

1

 

 

Ohio

 

 

10

 

California

 

 

29

 

 

Maryland

 

 

7

 

 

Oklahoma

 

 

3

 

Colorado

 

 

7

 

 

Massachusetts

 

 

13

 

 

Oregon

 

 

5

 

Connecticut

 

 

9

 

 

Michigan

 

 

10

 

 

Pennsylvania

 

 

13

 

Delaware

 

 

1

 

 

Minnesota

 

 

8

 

 

Rhode Island

 

 

1

 

Florida

 

 

13

 

 

Mississippi

 

 

2

 

 

South Carolina

 

 

5

 

Georgia

 

 

10

 

 

Missouri

 

 

5

 

 

Tennessee

 

 

9

 

Idaho

 

 

1

 

 

Nebraska

 

 

2

 

 

Texas

 

 

18

 

Illinois

 

 

15

 

 

Nevada

 

 

2

 

 

Utah

 

 

2

 

Indiana

 

 

2

 

 

New Hampshire

 

 

1

 

 

Virginia

 

 

11

 

Iowa

 

 

3

 

 

New Jersey

 

 

14

 

 

Washington

 

 

5

 

Kansas

 

 

2

 

 

New Mexico

 

 

1

 

 

Wisconsin

 

 

4

 

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

We are not presently party to any legal proceedings the resolution of which we believe would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, operating results or cash flows. We establish reserves for specific legal matters when we determine that the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome is probable and the loss is reasonably estimable.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

31


PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market Information

Our common stock began trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “JILL” on March 9, 2017. Prior to that time, there was no public market for our common stock.  

The following table sets forth the high and low sales prices of our common stock as reported on the NYSE for the Fiscal Year 2019 and 2018 quarters ended, respectively:

 

 

 

Fiscal Year 2019

 

 

Fiscal Year 2018

 

 

 

High

 

 

Low

 

 

High

 

 

Low

 

First

 

$

6.31

 

 

$

4.53

 

 

$

9.10

 

 

$

4.17

 

Second

 

$

5.49

 

 

$

1.24

 

 

$

9.62

 

 

$

4.91

 

Third

 

$

2.58

 

 

$

1.46

 

 

$

8.90

 

 

$

4.84

 

Fourth

 

$

2.12

 

 

$

0.92

 

 

$

6.56

 

 

$

4.54

 

 

Holders of Record

As of February 1, 2020, there were approximately 13 holders of record of our common stock. This number does not include beneficial owners whose shares are held of record by banks, brokers and other financial institutions.

Dividends

Since its initial public offering, the Company had not declared or paid any cash dividend as of February 2, 2019. On April 1, 2019, the Company paid a special cash dividend of approximately $50.2 million to the shareholders of J.Jill, Inc.

On June 6, 2016, Jill Intermediate LLC, our predecessor entity prior to our conversion to a Delaware corporation, paid a $70.0 million dividend to the partners of JJill Topco Holdings.

The payment of cash dividends in the future, if any, will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon such factors as earnings levels, capital requirements, restrictions imposed by applicable law, our overall financial condition, restrictions in our debt agreements, including our Term Loan Agreement and ABL Facility, and any other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. As a holding company, our ability to pay dividends depends on our receipt of cash dividends from our operating subsidiaries, which may further restrict our ability to pay dividends as a result of restrictions on their ability to pay dividends to us under our Term Loan Agreement, our ABL Facility and under future indebtedness that we or they may incur. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Credit Facilities.”

32


Performance Graph

The following graph shows a comparison from March 9, 2017 (the date our common stock commenced trading on the NYSE) through February 1, 2020 of the cumulative total return for our common stock, the S&P 500 Index and an S&P Retail Index. The graph assumes $100 was invested in each of the Company’s common stock, the S&P 500 Index and the S&P Retail Index as of the market close on March 9, 2017. Such returns are based on historical results and are not intended to suggest future performance.

 

 

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

None.

Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

None.

Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

Information regarding our equity compensation plans is set forth in Item 12, Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Shareholder Matters.

33


Item 6. Selected Financial Data

The following tables present our selected consolidated financial and other data as of and for the periods indicated. As more fully described below, the periods are presented as “Predecessor” or “Successor”, depending on whether they relate to periods preceding or periods succeeding the acquisition of all of our outstanding equity interests on May 8, 2015. The selected consolidated statements of operations data for the fiscal years ended February 1, 2020 (Successor), February 2, 2019 (Successor), February 3, 2018 (Successor) and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of February 1, 2020 (Successor) and February 2, 2019 (Successor) are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We have derived the selected consolidated statements of operations data for the fiscal years May 8, 2015 to January 30, 2016 (Successor), from February 1, 2015 to May 7, 2015 (Predecessor), and the fiscal year ended January 30, 2016 (Successor) and the consolidated balance sheet data as of January 28, 2017 (Successor) and January 30, 2016 (Successor) from our audited consolidated financial statements, which are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our historical audited results are not necessarily indicative of the results that should be expected in any future period.

The Company's fiscal year ends on the Saturday, in January or February, nearest the last day of January, resulting in an additional week of results every five or six years. All fiscal years for which financial information is set forth below contained 52 weeks, except for the fiscal year ended February 3, 2018, which contained 53 weeks.

On May 8, 2015, an investment vehicle of investment funds affiliated with TowerBrook Capital Partners L.P. acquired all of our outstanding equity interests through the newly formed entities JJill Holdings, Inc. (“JJill Holdings”) and JJill Topco Holdings, LP (“JJill Topco Holdings”). We refer to such acquisition and the related financing transactions as the “Acquisition.” As a result of the Acquisition and related change in control, JJill Holdings applied purchase accounting as of May 8, 2015. We elected to push down the effects of the Acquisition to our consolidated financial statements.

For purposes of presenting a comparison of our Fiscal Years 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016 results, in addition to standalone results for the 2015 Successor Period and 2015 Predecessor Period, we have also presented supplemental unaudited pro forma consolidated financial and other data for the fiscal year ended January 30, 2016. The unaudited pro forma consolidated statement of operations for the fiscal year ended January 30, 2016 has been derived from the historical audited statements of operations included in our Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report on Form 10-K, and represents the addition of the 2015 Successor Period and the 2015 Predecessor Period and gives effect to certain transactions, as described in our Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report on Form 10-K. We believe that this presentation provides meaningful information about our results of operations on a period to period basis. The unaudited pro forma consolidated statement of operations is presented for illustrative purposes and does not purport to represent what the results of operations would actually have been if the transactions had occurred as of the date indicated or what the results of operations would be for any future periods.

34


The selected historical financial data presented below does not purport to project our financial position or results of operations for any future date or period and should be read together with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 

Successor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Predecessor

 

 

Pro Forma (1)

 

(in thousands,

except share and

per share data)

 

For the

Fiscal

Year

Ended

February

1, 2020

 

 

For the

Fiscal

Year

Ended

February

2, 2019

 

 

For the

Fiscal

Year

Ended

February

3, 2018

 

 

For the

Fiscal

Year

Ended

January

28, 2017

 

 

For the

Period

from

May 8,

2015 to

January 30, 2016

 

 

 

For the

Period

from

February

1,

2015 to

May 7, 2015

 

 

For the

Fiscal Year

Ended

January

30, 2016

 

Statements of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales

 

$

691,345

 

 

$

706,262

 

 

$

698,145

 

 

$

639,056

 

 

$

420,094

 

 

 

$

141,921

 

 

$

562,015

 

Costs of goods sold

 

 

262,766

 

 

 

245,982

 

 

 

234,065

 

 

 

211,117

 

 

 

155,091

 

 

 

 

44,232

 

 

 

188,852

 

Gross profit

 

 

428,579

 

 

 

460,280

 

 

 

464,080

 

 

 

427,939

 

 

 

265,003

 

 

 

 

97,689

 

 

 

373,163

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

 

 

409,069

 

 

 

399,042

 

 

 

394,893

 

 

 

368,525

 

 

 

246,482

 

 

 

 

80,151

 

 

 

331,752

 

Impairment of goodwill

 

 

119,428

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impairment of indefinite-lived intangible assets

 

 

12,100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acquisition-related expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8,560

 

 

 

 

13,341

 

 

 

 

Operating (loss) income

 

 

(112,018

)

 

 

61,238

 

 

 

69,187

 

 

 

59,414

 

 

 

9,961

 

 

 

 

4,197

 

 

 

41,411

 

Interest expense, net

 

 

19,571

 

 

 

19,064

 

 

 

19,261

 

 

 

18,670

 

 

 

11,893

 

 

 

 

4,599

 

 

 

16,893

 

Income before provision for income taxes

 

 

(131,589

)

 

 

42,174

 

 

 

49,926

 

 

 

40,744

 

 

 

(1,932

)

 

 

 

(402

)

 

 

24,518

 

Income tax (benefit) provision

 

 

(3,022

)

 

 

11,649

 

 

 

(5,439

)

 

 

16,669

 

 

 

2,322

 

 

 

 

1,499

 

 

 

10,223

 

Net income (loss)

 

$

(128,567

)

 

$

30,525

 

 

$

55,365

 

 

$

24,075

 

 

$

(4,254

)

 

 

$

(1,901

)

 

$

14,295

 

Net income per common share attributable to common shareholders (1):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

$

(2.94

)

 

$

0.71

 

 

$

1.32

 

 

$

0.55

 

 

$

(0.10

)

 

 

$

(0.04

)

 

$

0.33

 

Diluted

 

$

(2.94

)

 

$

0.69

 

 

$

1.27

 

 

$

0.55

 

 

$

(0.10

)

 

 

$

(0.04

)

 

$

0.33

 

Weighted average number of common shares outstanding (1):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

43,749,324

 

 

 

42,771,316

 

 

 

41,926,157

 

 

 

43,747,944

 

 

 

43,747,944

 

 

 

 

43,747,944

 

 

 

43,747,944

 

     Diluted

 

 

43,749,324

 

 

 

44,239,751

 

 

 

43,571,746

 

 

 

43,747,944

 

 

 

43,747,944

 

 

 

 

43,747,944

 

 

 

43,747,944

 

Other Financial Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA(2)

 

$

65,480

 

 

$

103,471

 

 

$

113,476

 

 

$

106,220

 

 

$

59,699

 

 

 

$

23,672

 

 

$

81,955

 

Adjusted EBITDA margin(3)

 

 

9.5

%

 

 

14.7

%

 

 

16.3

%

 

 

16.6

%

 

 

14.2

%

 

 

 

16.7

%

 

 

14.6

%

35


 

(in thousands)

 

February 1,

2020

 

 

February 2,

2019

 

 

February 3,

2018

 

 

January 28,

2017

 

 

January 30,

2016

 

 

Balance Sheet data (at end of period):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash

 

$

21,527

 

 

$

66,204

 

 

$

25,978

 

 

$

13,468

 

 

$

27,505

 

 

Net operating assets and liabilities (4)

 

 

(18,217

)

 

 

8,772

 

 

 

3,769

 

 

 

6,414

 

 

 

3,477

 

 

Total assets

 

 

633,988

 

 

 

626,988

 

 

 

597,557

 

 

 

568,305

 

 

 

582,032

 

 

Current and non-current portions of long-term debt, net of discount and debt issuance cost

 

 

233,999

 

 

 

240,263

 

 

 

241,680

 

 

 

267,239

 

 

 

239,978

 

 

Total equity

 

 

38,565

 

 

 

213,795

 

 

 

179,316

 

 

 

122,864

 

 

 

166,571

 

 

 

 

(1)

Refer to the Company’s “Management Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations Supplemental Unaudited Pro Forma Consolidated Financial Information” derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included in our Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report on Form 10-K for information regarding our presentation of the pro forma fiscal year ended January 30, 2016.  Pro forma adjustments do not impact the weighted average number of basic or diluted common shares outstanding during the period.  Accordingly, basic and diluted EPS for the pro forma fiscal year ended January 30, 2016 is impacted only as a result of pro forma adjustments to net income attributable to common shareholders.

 

(2)

Adjusted EBITDA represents net income plus interest expense, income tax (benefit) provision, depreciation and amortization, the amortization of the step-up to fair value of merchandise inventory resulting from the application of a purchase accounting adjustment related to the Acquisition, certain Acquisition-related expenses, sponsor fees, equity-based compensation expense, goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets impairment, write-off of property and equipment and other non-recurring expenses, primarily consisting of outside legal and professional fees associated with certain non-recurring transactions and events. We present Adjusted EBITDA on a consolidated basis because our management uses it as a supplemental measure in assessing our operating performance, and we believe that it is helpful to investors, securities analysts and other interested parties as a measure of our comparative operating performance from period to period. Adjusted EBITDA is not a measurement of financial performance under GAAP. It should not be considered an alternative to net income as a measure of our operating performance or any other measure of performance derived in accordance with GAAP. In addition, Adjusted EBITDA should not be construed as an inference that our future results will be unaffected by unusual or nonrecurring items, or affected by similar nonrecurring items. Adjusted EBITDA has limitations as an analytical tool, and you should not consider such measure either in isolation or as a substitute for analyzing our results as reported under GAAP. Our definition and calculation of Adjusted EBITDA is not necessarily comparable to other similarly titled measures used by other companies due to different methods of calculation. We recommend that you review the reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net income, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, under “Management Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Result of Operations - Reconciliation of Net Income to Adjusted EBITDA and Calculation of Adjusted EBITDA Margin” and not rely solely on Adjusted EBITDA or any single financial measure to evaluate our business.

 

(3)

Adjusted EBITDA margin is defined as Adjusted EBITDA divided by net sales. We recommend that you review the calculation of Adjusted EBITDA margin, under “Management Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Result of Operations Reconciliation of Net Income to Adjusted EBITDA and Calculation of Adjusted EBITDA Margin.”

 

(4)

Net operating assets and liabilities consist of current assets excluding cash, less current liabilities excluding the current portion of long-term debt.

 

 

36


Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as the information presented under “Selected Financial Data.” The following discussion contains forward-looking statements that reflect our plans, estimates and assumptions. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause such differences are discussed in the sections of this Annual Report on Form 10-K titled “Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”

We operate on a 52- or 53-week fiscal year that ends on the Saturday that is closest to January 31. Fiscal Year 2019, 2018, and 2017 ended on February 1, 2020, February 2, 2019, and February 3, 2018, respectively. Each fiscal year generally is comprised of four 13-week fiscal quarters, although in the years with 53 weeks, the fourth quarter represents a 14-week period. Fiscal Years 2019 and 2018 were each comprised of 52 weeks while Fiscal Year 2017 was comprised of 53 weeks.

Overview

J.Jill is a premier omnichannel retailer and nationally recognized women’s apparel brand committed to delighting customers with great wear-now product. The brand represents an easy, thoughtful and inspired style that reflects the confidence of remarkable women who live life with joy, passion and purpose. J.Jill offers a guiding customer experience through more than 280 stores nationwide and a robust ecommerce platform. J.Jill is headquartered outside Boston.

Factors Affecting Our Operating Results

Various factors are expected to continue to affect our results of operations going forward, including the following:

Overall Economic Trends. Consumer purchases of clothing and other merchandise generally decline during recessionary periods and other periods when disposable income is adversely affected, and consequently our results of operations may be affected by general economic conditions. For example, reduced consumer confidence and lower availability and higher cost of consumer credit may reduce demand for our merchandise and may limit our ability to increase or sustain prices. The growth rate of the market could be affected by macroeconomic conditions in the United States.

Consumer Preferences and Fashion Trends. Our ability to maintain our appeal to existing customers and attract new customers depends on our ability to anticipate fashion trends. During periods in which we have successfully anticipated fashion trends, we have generally had more favorable results.

Competition. The retail industry is highly competitive and retailers compete based on a variety of factors, including design, quality, price and customer service. Levels of competition and the ability of our competitors to more accurately predict fashion trends and otherwise attract customers through competitive pricing or other factors may impact our results of operations.

Our Strategic Initiatives. The ongoing implementation of strategic initiatives will continue to have an impact on our results of operations.  These initiatives include our ecommerce site, which was re-platformed in Fiscal Year 2017, and our ongoing initiatives to upgrade and enhance our information systems. Although initiatives of this nature are designed to create growth in our business and continuing improvement in our operating results, the timing of expenditures related to these initiatives, as well as the achievement of returns on our investments, may affect our results of operation in future periods.

Pricing and Changes in Our Merchandise Mix. Our product offering changes from period to period, as do the prices at which goods are sold and the margins we are able to earn from the sales of those goods. The levels at which we are able to price our merchandise are influenced by a variety of factors, including the quality of our products, cost of production, prices at which our competitors are selling similar products and the willingness of our customers to pay for products.

Potential Changes in Tax Laws and/or Regulations.  Changes in tax laws in any of the multiple jurisdictions in which we operate, or adverse outcomes from tax audits that we may be subject to in any of the jurisdictions in which we operate, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.  Additionally, any potential changes with respect to tax and trade policies, tariffs and government regulations affecting trade between the U.S. and other countries could adversely affect our business, as we source the majority of our merchandise from manufacturers located outside of the U.S.

37


How We Assess the Performance of Our Business

In assessing the performance of our business, we consider a variety of financial and operating metrics, including GAAP and non-GAAP measures, including the following:

Net sales consists primarily of revenues, net of merchandise returns and discounts, generated from the sale of apparel and accessory merchandise through our retail channel and direct channel. Net sales also include shipping and handling fees collected from customers and royalty revenues and marketing reimbursements related to our private label credit card agreement. Revenue from our retail channel is recognized at the time of sale and revenue from our direct channel is recognized upon shipment of merchandise to the customer.

Net sales are impacted by the size of our active customer base, product assortment and availability, marketing and promotional activities and the spending habits of our customers. Net sales are also impacted by the migration of single-channel customers to omnichannel customers who, on average, spend nearly three times more than single-channel customers.

Total company comparable sales includes net sales from our full-price stores that have been open for more than 52 weeks and from our direct channel. This measure highlights the performance of existing stores open during the period, while excluding the impact of new store openings and closures. When a store in the total company comparable store base is temporarily closed for remodeling or other reasons, it is included in total company comparable sales only using the full weeks it was open. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2020, the sales from our direct channel included in total company comparable sales will exclude shipping and handling revenue.  The exclusion of shipping and handling revenue will provide investors better visibility to the underlying product performance in our comparable year-over-year sales. Certain of our competitors and other retailers may calculate total company comparable sales differently than we do. As a result, the reporting of our total company comparable sales may not be comparable to sales data made available by other companies.

The following table provides a reconciliation of our total company comparable sales for the periods presented;

 

 

 

For the Fiscal Year Ended

 

 

 

February 1, 2020

 

February 2, 2019

 

February 3, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Reported

 

-3.6%

 

0.9%

 

6.4%

 

As Adjusted

 

-3.2%

 

1.1%

 

6.8%

 

 

Number of stores reflects all stores open at the end of a reporting period. In connection with opening new stores, we incur pre-opening costs. Pre-opening costs include expenses incurred prior to opening a new store and primarily consist of payroll, travel, training, marketing, initial opening supplies and costs of transporting initial inventory and fixtures to store locations, as well as occupancy costs incurred from the time of possession of a store site to the opening of that store. These pre-opening costs are included in selling, general and administrative expenses and are generally incurred and expensed within 30 days of opening a new store.

Gross profit is equal to our net sales less costs of goods sold. Gross profit as a percentage of our net sales is referred to as gross margin. Costs of goods sold includes the direct costs of sold merchandise, inventory shrinkage, and adjustments and reserves for excess, aged and obsolete inventory. We review our inventory levels on an ongoing basis to identify slow-moving merchandise and use product markdowns to liquidate these products. Changes in the assortment of our products may also impact our gross profit. The timing and level of markdowns are driven by customer acceptance of our merchandise. Certain of our competitors and other retailers may report costs of goods sold differently than we do. As a result, the reporting of our gross profit and gross margin may not be comparable to other companies.

The primary drivers of the costs of goods sold are raw materials, which fluctuate based on certain factors beyond our control, including labor conditions, transportation or freight costs, energy prices, currency fluctuations and commodity prices. We place orders with merchandise suppliers in United States dollars and, as a result, are not exposed to significant foreign currency exchange risk.

Selling, general and administrative expenses include all operating costs not included in costs of goods sold. These expenses include all payroll and related expenses, occupancy costs, information systems costs and other operating expenses related to our stores and to our operations at our headquarters, including utilities, depreciation and amortization. These expenses also include marketing expense, including catalog production and mailing costs, warehousing, distribution and shipping costs, customer service operations, consulting and software services, professional services and other administrative costs.

38


Our historical revenue growth has been accompanied by increased selling, general and administrative expenses. The most significant increases were in occupancy costs associated with retail store expansion, and in marketing and payroll investments.

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin. Adjusted EBITDA, represents net income plus net interest expense, provision (benefit) for income taxes, depreciation and amortization, equity-based compensation expense, goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets impairment, impairment and write-off of property and equipment, and other non-recurring expenses, primarily consisting of outside legal and professional fees associated with certain non-recurring transactions and events. We present Adjusted EBITDA on a consolidated basis because management uses it as a supplemental measure in assessing our operating performance, and we believe that it is helpful to investors, securities analysts and other interested parties as a measure of our comparative operating performance from period to period. We also use Adjusted EBITDA as one of the primary methods for planning and forecasting overall expected performance of our business and for evaluating on a quarterly and annual basis actual results against such expectations. Further, we recognize Adjusted EBITDA as a commonly used measure in determining business value and as such, use it internally to report results. Adjusted EBITDA margin represents, for any period, Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of net sales.

While we believe that Adjusted EBITDA is useful in evaluating our business, Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure that has limitations as an analytical tool. Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered an alternative to, or substitute for, net income (loss), which is calculated in accordance with GAAP. In addition, other companies, including companies in our industry, may calculate Adjusted EBITDA differently or not at all, which reduces the usefulness of Adjusted EBITDA as a tool for comparison. We recommend that you review the reconciliation and calculation of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin to net income, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, below and not rely solely on Adjusted EBITDA or any single financial measure to evaluate our business.

Reconciliation of Net Income to Adjusted EBITDA and Calculation of Adjusted EBITDA Margin

The following table provides a reconciliation of net income to Adjusted EBITDA and the calculation of Adjusted EBITDA margin for the periods presented:

 

(in thousands)

 

For the Fiscal Year Ended February 1, 2020

 

For the Fiscal Year Ended February 2, 2019

 

For the Fiscal Year Ended February 3, 2018

 

Statements of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income

 

$

(128,567

)

$

30,525

 

$

55,365

 

Interest expense, net

 

 

19,571

 

 

19,064

 

 

19,261

 

Income tax provision (benefit)

 

 

(3,022

)

 

11,649

 

 

(5,439

)

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

37,925

 

 

36,749

 

 

35,052

 

Equity-based compensation expense

 

 

3,972

 

 

4,010

 

 

782

 

Write-off of property and equipment(a)

 

 

151

 

 

128

 

 

586

 

Impairment of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets

 

 

131,528

 

 

 

 

 

Impairment of long lived assets(b)

 

 

2,325

 

 

 

 

2,164

 

Special bonus

 

 

 

 

 

 

624

 

Other non-recurring expenses(c)

 

 

1,597

 

 

1,346

 

 

5,081

 

Adjusted EBITDA

 

$

65,480

 

$

103,471

 

$

113,476

 

Net sales

 

$

691,345

 

$

706,262

 

$

698,145

 

Adjusted EBITDA margin

 

 

9.5

%

 

14.7

%

 

16.3

%

 

 

(a)

Represents the net gain or loss on the disposal of fixed assets.

 

(b)

Represents the impairment of assets and change in use of a right-of-use asset taken in Fiscal Year 2019 and the impairment of assets in Fiscal Year 2017 associated with three underperforming retail locations.

 

(c)

Represents items management believes are not indicative of ongoing operating performance. These expenses are primarily composed of a gain from insurance proceeds, restructuring costs and expenses related to a CEO transition, including the acceleration of equity based compensation expense in Fiscal Year 2019.  In Fiscal Year 2018, these expenses include costs related to a CEO transition. Finally, in Fiscal Year 2017 these expenses were comprised of legal and professional fees associated with the initial public offering completed March 14, 2017 and subsequent transition to a public company.

39


Factors Affecting the Comparability of our Results of Operations

On February 24, 2017, we completed a conversion from a Delaware limited liability company named Jill Intermediate LLC into a Delaware corporation and changed our name to J.Jill, Inc. In conjunction with the conversion, all of our outstanding equity interests converted into shares of common stock. Accordingly, all historical earnings per share amounts presented in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income and the related notes to the consolidated financial statements have been adjusted retroactively to reflect our conversion from a limited liability company to a corporation.

Following our conversion from a limited liability company to a corporation, J.Jill, Inc. merged with and into its direct parent company, JJill Holdings, on February 24, 2017, with J.Jill, Inc. continuing as the surviving entity. JJill Holdings did not have operations of its own, except for buyer transaction costs of $8.6 million incurred to execute the Acquisition.

On May 27, 2016, we entered into an agreement to amend our Term Loan Agreement to borrow an additional $40.0 million. The other terms and conditions of the Term Loan Agreement remained substantially unchanged, as discussed in “Liquidity and Capital Resources—Credit Facilities.” We used the additional loan proceeds, along with cash on hand, to fund a $70.0 million dividend to the partners of JJill Topco Holdings, which was approved by the members of Jill Intermediate LLC and the board of directors of JJill Topco Holdings on May 27, 2016.

On January 31, 2020, January 18, 2017 and June 1, 2017, we made voluntary prepayments of $5.0 million, $10.1 million and $20.2 million, respectively, including accrued interest, on our Term Loan.  On December 15, 2017, we repurchased $5.0 million of our Term Loan on the open market at 98% of par value.

Results of Operations

Fiscal Year Ended February 1, 2020 compared to Fiscal Year ended February 2, 2019.

The following table summarizes our consolidated results of operations for the periods indicated:

 

 

 

For the Fiscal Year Ended February 1, 2020

 

 

For the Fiscal Year Ended February 2, 2019

 

 

Change Year-over-Year

 

(in thousands)

 

Dollars

 

 

% of Net

Sales

 

 

Dollars

 

 

% of Net

Sales

 

 

$ Change

 

 

% Change

 

Net sales

 

$

691,345

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

$

706,262

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

$

(14,917

)

 

 

(2.1

)%

Costs of goods sold

 

 

262,766