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What happened

Shares of The Children's Place (NASDAQ:PLCE) were flying higher today after the children's specialty apparel retailer blew by estimates in its third-quarter earnings report. As of 11:29 a.m. EST, the stock was up 10.6%.

So what

It was a strong report across the board as earnings per share improved 19% to $2.29, easily beating estimates at $2.01. On the top line, comparable sales increased 4.6%, and overall revenue was up 3.9% to $473.8 million, ahead of expectations at $460.5 million.

CEO Jane Elfers said, "We delivered another outstanding quarter" as EPS topped the company's own guidance range. Elfers also noted that comparable sales accelerated through all three months, putting it in a strong position for the holiday quarter. She credited growth initiatives like superior product, business transformation through technology, and fleet optimization for the impressive performance.

Now what

Looking ahead, The Children's Place bumped up its full-year EPS guidance from $4.60-$4.70 to $5.00-$5.05, marking a 40% improvement from $3.60 a year ago. 

For the current quarter, the company sees comparable sales growth in the low single digits, and EPS of $1.43 to $1.48, up from $1.19 a year ago and better than estimates at $1.40.

The Children's Place has held off on opening new stores, instead boosting EPS by increasing comparable sales, controlling costs, and buying back shares. The company has reduced shares outstanding by nearly 9% over the last year, though that pace will be difficult to maintain as the stock goes up.

Keep your eye on comparable sales growth going forward as that will be key for the company to deliver profit growth without new stores.

Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.