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Children's Place Retail's Q3 earnings exceed expectations
20
Nov '12
The Children's Place Retail Stores Inc., the largest pure-play children's specialty apparel retailer in North America, announced third quarter net sales increased 3% to $500.9 million for the thirteen weeks ended October 27, 2012, compared to $484.1 million in the third quarter of 2011. Comparable retail sales increased 1.1% in the quarter.

GAAP net income was $35.0 million, or $1.44 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2012. As adjusted, net income was $39.0 million, or $1.60 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2012, compared to $33.7 million, or $1.33 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2011.

"Our third quarter earnings per share exceeded our expectations. We had strong sales results in our e-commerce and outlet channels, and continued positive momentum in our big kids business throughout the quarter," commented Jane Elfers, President and Chief Executive Officer.

"Entering the fourth quarter, Hurricane Sandy had a devastating impact on our region, and our deepest sympathy goes out to all who were affected. Over 280 of our stores and our Northeast e-commerce business, which together account for approximately 31% of total company revenues, were impacted. We still expect to deliver positive comparable retail sales, but we are adjusting the margin and earnings outlook for the quarter and fiscal 2012 due to the heightened promotional environment post-Sandy."

Fiscal Year-to-Date

Net sales increased 3% to $1,300.3 million fiscal year-to-date 2012, compared to $1,258.4 million for the same period last year. Comparable retail sales increased 1.1% fiscal year-to-date 2012.

GAAP net income for fiscal year-to-date 2012 was $40.6 million, or $1.66 per diluted share. As adjusted, net income was $51.0 million, or $2.09 per diluted share, compared to $53.0 million, or $2.05 per diluted share, for the same period last year.

Store Openings and Closures

During the third quarter of 2012, The Children's Place opened 23 stores and closed one. Fiscal year-to-date 2012, the Company has opened 60 stores and closed seven.

Share Repurchase Program

During the third quarter, the Company repurchased 222 thousand shares for approximately $12.8 million. During the first nine months of fiscal 2012, the Company repurchased 935 thousand shares for approximately $47.7 million. At the end of the quarter, there was approximately $21.6 million remaining of the $50 million share repurchase program which was authorized by the Board of Directors in March 2012. Under the 2012 share repurchase program, the Company may repurchase shares in the open market at current market prices at the time of purchase or in privately negotiated transactions. The timing and actual number of shares repurchased under the program will depend on a variety of factors including price, corporate and regulatory requirements, and other market and business conditions. The Company may suspend or discontinue the program at any time, and may thereafter reinstitute purchases, all without prior announcement.

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