J.Jill (NASDAQ: JILL) and Cato Corporation (The) (NYSE:CATO) are both small-cap cyclical consumer goods & services companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, analyst recommendations, earnings, risk, institutional ownership, profitability and dividends.


Cato Corporation (The) pays an annual dividend of $1.32 per share and has a dividend yield of 9.8%. J.Jill does not pay a dividend. Cato Corporation (The) pays out 206.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Cato Corporation (The) has raised its dividend for 7 consecutive years.


This table compares J.Jill and Cato Corporation (The)’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
J.Jill 6.61% 35.03% 8.37%
Cato Corporation (The) 1.92% 4.37% 2.86%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

88.4% of Cato Corporation (The) shares are owned by institutional investors. 9.0% of Cato Corporation (The) shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares J.Jill and Cato Corporation (The)’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
J.Jill $673.85 million 0.68 $105.46 million N/A N/A
Cato Corporation (The) $876.41 million 0.38 $34.92 million $0.64 21.02

J.Jill has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Cato Corporation (The).

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and price targets for J.Jill and Cato Corporation (The), as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
J.Jill 0 2 7 0 2.78
Cato Corporation (The) 0 1 0 0 2.00

J.Jill currently has a consensus price target of $15.88, suggesting a potential upside of 51.99%. Cato Corporation (The) has a consensus price target of $20.00, suggesting a potential upside of 48.70%. Given J.Jill’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe J.Jill is more favorable than Cato Corporation (The).


J.Jill beats Cato Corporation (The) on 9 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About J.Jill

J.Jill, Inc. (J.Jill) operates as a specialty retailer in the women’s apparel industry. J.Jill is a women’s apparel brand focused on customer in the 40-65 age segment. The Company operates an integrated omni-channel platform that is diversified across its retail stores, Website and catalogs. It operates in the retail and direct channels segment. Its direct channel consists of its Website and catalog orders. As of January 28, 2017, it operated 275 stores in 43 states. The Company also offers a range of footwear and accessories, including scarves, jewelry and hosiery. Its products are marketed under the J.Jill brand name and sold through its direct and retail channels. It offers two sub-brands as extensions of its brand aesthetic: Pure Jill and Wearever. Its Website provides customers with access to the J.Jill product offering and features content, including updates on new collections and guidance on how to wear and wardrobe its styles.

About Cato Corporation (The)

The Cato Corporation is a fashion specialty retailer. The Company’s merchandise lines include dressy, career, and casual sportswear, dresses, coats, shoes, lingerie, costume jewelry, handbags, men’s wear and lines for kids and newborns. The Company has two segments: the operation of a fashion specialty stores segment (Retail Segment) and a credit card segment (Credit Segment). The Company operated its women’s fashion specialty retail stores in 33 states as of January 28, 2017, principally in the southeastern United States. The Company offers its own credit card to its customers and all credit authorizations, payment processing, and collection efforts are performed by a separate subsidiary of the Company. The Company’s stores offer an assortment of on-trend apparel and accessory items in primarily junior/missy, plus sizes, men’s and kids sizes with a focus on color, product coordination and selection.

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