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The Children's Place achieves solid financial results for Q3

22
Nov '11
The Children's Place Retail Stores Inc.,the largest pure-play children's specialty apparel retailer in North America, announced third quarter net sales of $484.1 million for the thirteen weeks ended October 29, 2011, a 7% increase compared to $453.4 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2010. Comparable retail sales increased 0.9% in the quarter.

Gross margin expanded 110 basis points to 41.3% for the third quarter of 2011, compared to 40.2% the prior year. Income from continuing operations after tax was $33.7 million, or $1.33 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2011, compared to $31.2 million, or $1.14 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2010.

Jane Elfers, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "The Children's Place delivered solid financial results for the quarter, including positive comparable retail sales, accelerated total sales growth, continued gross margin expansion and a strong earnings per share increase.

"We attribute these results to a combination of our enhanced merchandise offerings, our intense focus on inventory management and the momentum from our other strategic growth initiatives which enabled us to drive sales and expand margin despite significantly higher product costs and a difficult macroeconomic environment."

Fiscal Year-to-Date
Net sales increased 3% to $1,258.4 million fiscal year-to-date 2011, compared to $1,220.8 million for the same period last year. Comparable retail sales declined 2.4% fiscal year-to-date.

Gross margin expanded 70 basis points to 39.7%, compared to 39.0% fiscal year-to-date 2010. Income from continuing operations after tax was $53.0 million, or $2.05 per diluted share, fiscal year-to-date 2011, compared to $50.9 million, or $1.83 per diluted share, last year.

Store Openings and Closures
During the third quarter of 2011, The Children's Place opened 18 stores and closed two. Fiscal year-to-date 2011, the Company has opened 88 stores and closed seven.

Share Repurchase Program
During the third quarter of fiscal 2011, the Company repurchased 647 thousand shares for approximately $27.9 million. Fiscal year-to-date 2011, the Company repurchased 1.6 million shares for approximately $74.5 million. At the end of the third quarter, $35.6 million of the $100 million share repurchase program authorized in March 2011 remained available for future share repurchases.

Under the 2011 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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