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Why Did The Children's Place, Inc. Stock Climb 11% in September?

By Daniel B. Kline - Oct 5, 2017 at 9:26AM

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The company faces a difficult operating environment but has navigated it well.

Sometimes when a company reports earnings shares fall even if the results are positive. It's possible that analysts expected more or that numbers dropped from the previous year.

Sometimes, when this happens, shares recover after investors take a deeper look at the results. That's what happened with The Children's Place (PLCE -1.47%) after it reported Q2 results on Aug. 9.

PLCE Chart

Image source: YCharts.

What happened

When Children's Place first reported its Q2 results shares in the company dipped for a week. After that, when investors got past their initial disappointment, shares recovered and began an upward climb that lasted through September. 

It's hard to see why the initial reaction was so negative. The company saw net sales rise by 2.5% while comparable sales rose by 3.1%, up from a 2.4% increase during the same period a year ago. Earnings also climbed coming in at $0.86 per share versus a $0.01 loss in Q2 2016. 

Children pose in Children's Place clothing.

Children's Place has benefited from Gymboree's bankruptcy. Image source: The Children's Place. 

So what

Children's Place's results are even more impressive when you factor in the overall condition of retail in the United States. A number of chains have already declared bankruptcy in 2017 including Gymboree, a key Children's Place rival. Despite that negative climate, the children's clothing retailer has not only posted positive numbers, it raised its earnings guidance for 2017 to a range of $7.23 to $7.33 per share up from $7.10 to $7.20

Those are very strong numbers and investors eventually caught on. After closing August at $106.15 shares rose to $118.15 at the end of September, an 11% gain, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Now what

While the company still operates in a challenging environment, it appears to be handling those challenges well. CEO Jane Elfers laid out the company's plans in her remarks in the Q2 earnings release.

Our results are indicative of the significant progress we have made against each of our strategic growth initiatives -- superior product, business transformation through technology, global growth through alternate channels of distribution and fleet optimization -- all of which are supported by a best-in-class management team. Within our digital transformation initiative, we are intensely focused on developing and implementing a robust Personalized Customer Contact Strategy.

Children's Place should also continue to benefit from Gymboree's bankruptcy. While the retailer won't be going out of business, it is closing hundreds of stores which opens up an opportunity for its rival.

Going forward Children's Place still faces a difficult road. Even though it has performed well, it still must deal with retail increasingly moving online, and bankruptcies giving consumers fewer reasons to visit malls. Despite that, the near-term outlook for the company appears very strong and while its longer-range prospects include some risk, the chain seems well set up to deal with them.

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The Children's Place, Inc.
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