The Children’s Place’s (PLCE) second-quarter earnings dropped 48% from the previous year quarter when it got an income tax benefit. The hefty 20% growth of the top line turned thinner due to higher costs and expenses as well as higher asset impairment charges.
However, the top and bottom line exceeded analysts’ expectations. The pure-play children’s specialty apparel retailer lifted its sales and earnings guidance for full-year 2018 sending the stock upward when the market opened today. The company also guided third-quarter earnings far better than last year.
Net income fell 48% to $7.5 million or $0.45 per share. Adjusted EPS decreased to $0.70 from $0.86 in the prior year. Net sales jumped 20% to $448.7 million, primarily driven by a positive comparable retail sales increase of 13.2%, a benefit from the calendar shift related to the 53rd week in fiscal 2017, and new revenue recognition rules.
Looking ahead into the third quarter, the company expects EPS in the range of $2.97 to $3.07, based upon a mid-single digit comparable retail sales increase. The forecast is much better than the adjusted EPS of $2.58 in the previous year quarter.
For the full year 2018, adjusted EPS outlook lifted to a range of $8.09 to $8.29 from the prior estimate of $7.95 to $8.20. Total net sales targeted to be in the range of $1.945 billion to $1.955 billion compared to the previous forecast of $1.92 billion to $1.93 billion. This guidance assumes a positive mid-single-digit comparable retail sales increase.
During the second quarter of 2018, the company repurchased 440,147 shares for about $25 million and paid a quarterly dividend of about $8 million or $0.50 per share. At the end of the second quarter, about $307 million remained available for future share repurchases under its existing share repurchase programs.
The company’s board of directors authorized a dividend of $0.50 per share. The dividend is payable on September 17, 2018, to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 5, 2018.
Consistent with store fleet optimization initiative, the company closed 10 stores and did not open any stores during the second quarter of 2018. The company ended the quarter with 992 stores and square footage of 4.6 million, a decrease of 4% compared to the prior year.
Shares of the retailer ended Wednesday’s regular session up 0.55% at $137.50 on the Nasdaq. The stock had gained more than 35% in the past one year, while it dropped about 5% in the year-to-date period.
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