Clothing retailer Talbots is to open 46 new J Jill stores this year after acquiring the retail chain in February this year for US$517m.

Talbots said it would keep the J Jill name alive, operating J Jill and Talbots as separate brands in terms of stores, merchandising, web presence and marketing. It will also open about 50 new Talbots stores.

J Jill, which was set up in 1987, originally sold its clothes exclusively through catalogues, but has opened 200 stores across the US in the past six years.

Both chains target women over 35, with J Jill having more of a casual focus.