What are they giving away over at



? Apparently the J.Jill chain.

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Todd Slater upgraded the woman's apparel retailer to buy from hold on Wednesday, on the belief that the sale of its flailing J.Jill chain may come sooner than expected.

The news sent shares in the company soaring 19% to $4.98 in morning trading.

Talbots management said "several suitors" are interested in the chain, but have not offered any details.

Slater also said merchandise has been improving, which should entice shoppers back into the stores. "Unlike some of its competitors who clearly have the wrong product, Talbots already has product heading in the right direction," Slater wrote in a client note.

Talbots, along with its competitors like

Chico's FAS

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AnnTaylor Stores



New York & Company



Coldwater Creek


, were experiencing softness well before the recession began.

The company will report its first-quarter earnings on June 9.

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