Clothing retailer The Talbots Inc on Wednesday (3 May) completed its $517m acquisition of The J Jill Group, a multi-channel specialty retailer of women's apparel, accessories and footwear.

The purchase was first announced in February. Talbots bought all the outstanding shares of J Jill for $24.05 per share, and the common stock of J Jill ceased to trade on the Nasdaq National Market when it closed yesterday.

The transaction is expected to be accretive to Talbots earnings in fiscal 2007.

The combined company now has a leading brand portfolio for the age 35+ female market, and Arnold B Zetcher, Talbots chairman, president and CEO, says it intends to operate the brands separately.

J Jill specialises employs approximately 3,850 people, operated 200 stores and generated around $450m in revenue last year. Talbots has 1,085 own-brand stores.

As part of its plans to maximise growth, a number of key executives have been promoted.
Phil Kowalczyk, formerly Talbots' executive vice president, has been named president of the J Jill brand.

Olga Conley, J. Jill's former chief financial officer, will assume the role of administration vice president at Talbots.

David Dirienzo, formerly vice president for Talbots Mens and Talbots Kids, has been appointed executive vice president, merchandising for the J Jill brand. He will report directly to Phil Kowalczyk.

Gordon Cooke, J Jill's chairman, president and chief executive officer, will be retiring on 12 May 2006.