January 9, 2008 / 12:19 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Talbots names president of J.Jill brand

(Adds analyst comment; changes dateline, previous ATLANTA)

NEW YORK, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Apparel retailer Talbots Inc TLB.N said on Tuesday it appointed Paula Bennett as president of its J. Jill brand, effective Jan. 28.

At J. Jill, Bennett will replace Phil Kowalczyk, who was recently appointed company chief operating officer, Talbots said in a statement.

Bennett, 58, will join J. Jill from Orchard Brands, where she serves as chief executive of Appleseed‘s, Tog Shop and WinterSilks brands. A 35-year retail veteran, Bennett has also held leadership posts at Tiffany & Co (TIF.N), Calvin Klein and Eileen Fisher Inc.

Retail analyst Jennifer Black, of Jennifer Black & Associates, called Bennett “the perfect choice to lead the J. Jill brand in a turnaround.”

“In addition to updated styling, the stores we have seen need a fresh, invigorated look,” wrote Black, who owns Talbots shares, in a research note. “We envision an Eileen Fisher look at J. Jill price points.”

Talbots has 271 stores under the J. Jill brand that cater to customers age 35 and over. (Reporting by Martinne Geller in New York and Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; editing by Gary Hill/Andre Grenon)

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