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$PLCE lifted its FY16 adjusted EPS guidance to range of $4.17-4.27 from previous forecast of $4.00-4.10. This guidance assumes a positive low single digit increase in comparable retail sales for the year. For 2Q16, $PLCE expects adjusted loss per share of $0.22-0.30 and assumes a comparable retail sales increase of 1% to 2%.
$PLCE's BoD declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.40 per share. The dividend will be paid on Jan. 3, 2018 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 13, 2017. Since 2009, the company has returned over $863MM to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.
$PLCE expects to establish over 300 points of distribution by the end of 2020. For 3Q17, the company estimates adjusted operating margin to be flat or up by 20 basis points. Inventory is forecast to grow mid-high single digits YoY in the third quarter. In FY17, comparable sales are seen growing 3%, resulting in total sales of $1.83-$1.84Bil.
$PLCE plans to use digital tools to acquire the customers of its competitor Gymboree, in locations where the beleaguered apparel retailer has closed stores. The company is working with $AMZN to pursue more international opportunities, in addition to the recent partnership in Canada. It will continue closing under-performing stores.
$PLCE attributed the increase in its 2Q17 comparable store sales to wider product acceptance and reduced promotional activities, which resulted in positive margins that beat expectations. During the quarter, the company increased investments in key products, by 3MM units, to tap the full potential of the back-to-school season.
$PLCE closed seven stores in 2Q17, and did not open any new store. The company had 1,026 stores at the end of the quarter, down by 3.4% compared to last year. Meanwhile, the international franchise partners opened six points of distribution and closed one during the quarter. The Children’s Place repurchased 209,760 shares for about $25MM in 2Q17.
$PLCE has revised up its outlook of adjusted EPS for fiscal 2017 to the range of $7.23 to $7.33 from the earlier guidance of $7.10-$7.20. For the third quarter, adjusted EPS is estimated to be in the range of $2.41 to $2.46. The company expects a low single digit increase in comparable store sales during the quarter.
Kids wear company $PLCE recovered from last year’s losses and reported a profit of $14.3MM or $0.79 per share in 2Q17. The improved quarterly performance was the result of a modest rise in sales to $374MM and lower expenses. Adjusted EPS was $0.86, compared to a loss of $0.01 per share in 2Q16. Comparable retail sales grew 3.1% YoY.
$PLCE expects 2Q17 gross margin to be flat to a leverage of 20 basis points. The company predicts merchandize margin to increase for the 10th consecutive quarter in 2Q17, with inventory management tools, extremely strong and continued product acceptance and AUR increase.
$PLCE saw outsized penetration of ecommerce sales as a percentage of its total retail sales in 1Q17. Operating margin for 1Q17 grew 170 basis points from last year, on ecomm penetration. $PLCE expects a geography shift in its P&L as ecomm penetration continue to outperform and outsize, with lower gross margin expansion and lower SG&A.
$PLCE appointed Pamela Wallack to the newly created position of President Global Product, effective immediately. Wallack will report directly to CEO Jane Elfers, and will assume responsibility for Global Merchandising, Design, Sourcing and Production.
$PLCE closed 7 stores and opened 1 store during 1Q17. The company ended the quarter with 1,033 stores and square footage of 4.829MM, a decrease of 2.8% compared to the prior year. The company's international franchise partners opened 6 points of distribution in 1Q17, and ended the quarter with 156 international points of distribution.
$PLCE expects adjusted EPS in 2Q17 of $0.70-0.75, inclusive of a $0.70 benefit resulting from new accounting rules for the income tax impact on share-based compensation. This compares to an adjusted loss per share of $0.01 in 2Q16. This guidance assumes a low single digit increase in comparable retail sales.