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What: Shares of Children's Place Retail Stores, (NASDAQ: PLCE ) were slipping today, falling as much as 13% after a disappointing fourth-quarter earnings report.
So what: The children's clothing retailer actually beat earnings per share estimates by $0.01, posting a profit of $0.96, though revenue dipped 8.2%, to $467.5 million, worse than estimates of $484.6 million. Comparable sales fell 4.3%, and guidance was weak, as well. For the current quarter, Children's Place sees an EPS of $0.56-$0.66, and expects EPS of $2.85-$3.05 for the full year, which assumes comparable sales of flat to -1%. Analysts had been expecting $0.94 and $3.66, respectively.
Now what: CEO Jane Effers cited "an intensely promotional environment" and poor weather for the disappointing sales. She also said the company would double its international store count to 65-70, and grow other segments of the business, including e-commerce and wholesale. Management said its guidance was cautious due to the recent severe weather and expected negative foreign currency translation effects. Still, negative comparable sales is never a good sign, especially as it comes after the company said it would close 125 underperforming stores. If Children's Place misses its lowered guidance for Q1 that may be a strong sign for investors to sell.
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