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BOSTON-Talbots could double its J. Jill chain, potentially bringing it to 500 stores from the 240 it plans to have open by the end of the year, said Edward Larsen, chief financial officer and treasurer, here at the CIBC World Markets Consumer Growth Conference. In the near term, the retailer will open about 40 J. Jill units a year, up from the 210 it currently operates, he says.

Hingham, MA-based Talbots acquired J. Jill, based in Quincy, MA, for $517 million earlier this year. The deal has brought Talbots $1.8 billion in annual revenue up to nearly $2.3 billion with the combined company. Both apparel chains target women over 35 years old in a high income bracket, though J. Jill’s offerings are more casual.

Talbots looks to increase J. Jill’s total market penetration from the 16% mark it currently occupies up to 30%, Larsen says. As part of the expansion, the company could open 150 to 200 stores that sell petite-sized garments. Petite sizes currently make up 30% of the business at the close to 1,100 Talbots stores now in operation.

Though Talbots has kept J. Jill’s name and headquarters, the company has combined some departments, such as finance, human resources, information technology as well as other functions , at an annual savings of $20 million to $3 0million, Larsen says.

Besides J. Jill, Talbots is also expanding its namesake chain. For the next few years executives are planning to open the chain by 50 stores annually, though that growth could eventually slow.

For the second quarter, management expects same-store sales to come in at the low single digits. Additionally, due to acquisition costs, Talbots is forecasting a loss of 8 cents to 10 cents per share, though executives predict the company will bring in 50 cents to 55 cents per share during the second half of the year.

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