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J.Jill plans to go public — again

A J.Jill store. Wiqan Ang for the boston globe/file 2006

J.Jill is going public. Again.

The Quincy-based women’s fashion retailer filed for an initial public offering Friday, the latest corporate maneuver in what has been a whirlwind 11 years for the company.

The company, which traces its roots to a Western Massachusetts family store, first went public under a different name in the 1990s, rapidly expanding in the early- and mid-2000s.

In 2006, J.Jill was acquired by another South Shore-based retailer, Hingham-based Talbots, for $517 million. The acquisition proved disastrous as the retail market suffered during the financial crisis, and within three years, Talbots unloaded J.Jill to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for just $75 million.



In 2011, Golden Gate sold a majority stake in the company to a division of Arcapita, a Bahrain-based investment firm. J.Jill’s value had rebounded by 2015, when TowerBrook Capital Partners of New York bought it for $396 million, according to Friday’s security filing.

Under TowerBrook, J.Jill has quickly driven up profits. Between 2014 and 2016, sales grew about 23 percent, from $456 million to $562 million. The company’s profits more than tripled, from about $4.5 million to nearly $14.3 million over the same period.

J.Jill has 275 stores in 43 states. It employs about 1,400 people full time and 2,400 part time. About 340 employees work at the company’s Quincy headquarters, the filing says.

The company said it could add between 10 and 15 stores per year, while also closing outlets that don’t perform well.

The typical J.Jill customer is a college-educated woman between 40 and 65 with an annual household income above $150,000, according to the filing. The company is banking on loyalty, too: J.Jill said about 70 percent of its sales in 2015 came from people who have been shopping at the store for five years.

Friday’s filing was not a complete surprise; media reports last year suggested the company planned to go public.


J.Jill’s filing says the company is seeking to raise $100 million in the offering, but notes that is a placeholder figure that could change.

Curt Woodward of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Adam Vaccaro can be reached at adam.vaccaro@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamtvaccaro.