Children's Place sales and income up in Q1

SECAUCUS, N.J. — The Children's Place Retail Stores has announced net sales of $430.8 million for the first quarter ended April 30, a 2% increase compared with $422.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2010. Comparable-retail sales declined 3.2% in the first quarter of 2011.

The company reported that income from continuing operations after tax was $29.1 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2011, compared to $28 million, or $1.00 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2010.

"We grew net sales and earnings during the first quarter, and expanded merchandise margins as a result of improved merchandise assortments and disciplined inventory management," commented Jane Elfers, president and CEO.

"In spite of higher product costs, we expect gross margin will expand over the next couple of quarters and fiscal 2011 due to the progress being made on our key growth initiatives," Elfers concluded.

During the first quarter of 2011, the company opened 42 stores and closed five. In the first quarter of 2010, the company opened 16 stores and closed one.

The company updated its guidance for fiscal 2011 to reflect its first quarter results and now projects earnings per diluted share from continuing operations will be in the range of $3.10 to $3.25, compared with its initial guidance of $3.05 to $3.25. This guidance assumes flat comparable retail sales for fiscal 2011.

For the second quarter of 2011, the company is expecting a loss per share from continuing operations of 38 cents to 43 cents, assuming negative low-single digit comparable-retail sales.