Children’s Place Grows Bearish as Consumer Spending Slows

By Jennifer Booton Retail FOXBusiness

Children's Place Tops Estimates

Earnings HQ: FBN's Adam Shapiro breaks down PLCE's fourth-quarter earnings report.

Children’s Place (PLCE) revealed a better-than-expected decline in fourth-quarter profit early Tuesday but projected disappointing current-quarter and fiscal 2013 earnings, sending its shares sharply lower in morning trade.

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Citing unfavorable weather and the weak macroeconomic environment that has affected consumer spending, Children’s Place forecast earnings in the range of 60 cents to 65 cents compared with a year-earlier EPS of $1.14, on negative same-store sales.

The outlook is far below Wall Street’s consensus view of $1.20 a share.

For the full year, it anticipates adjusted earnings of $2.90 to $3.10, down from a prior-year first-quarter EPS of $3.25, and missing average analyst estimates of $3.54 a share.

Shares of Children’s Place slumped 5.5% premarket to $43.48.

The Secaucus, N.J.-based children’s apparel retailer reported net income of $19.1 million, or 80 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $23.3 million, or 93 cents.

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Excluding one-time items, Children’s Place said it earned $1.15 a share, topping average analyst estimates of $1.04 in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue for the three months ended Feb. 2 climbed 11.3% to $509.2 million compared with $457.5 million in 2011, beating the Street’s view of $498 million. The latest year’s quarter included an extra week in which it posted sales of $21.6 million.

Same-store sales, a key measurement of sales at stores open longer than a year, grew 4.3%.

“We continued to make significant progress during 2012 and had a strong finish to the year,” Children’s Place CEO Jane Elfers said in a statement.

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