NEW YORK — J. Jill Group had a tough first quarter, attributed to the usual war-weather-economy-Easter reasons, as earnings plummeted 71.5 percent.

The Quincy, Mass-based company, which operates 93 stores, said for the three months ended March 29, income fell to $768,000, or 4 cents a diluted share, compared with income of $2.7 million, or 14 cents, recorded in the year-ago quarter. Sales for the quarter advanced 12.3 percent to $82.4 million over sales of $73.4 million. By division, direct sales were on par with last year at $51.1 million, and retail sales increased 40.7 percent to $31.5 million, due to its store rollout.

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