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THE CHILDREN’S PLACE REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER AND FULL YEAR 2019 RESULTS

Reports Q4 GAAP Earnings per Diluted Share of $1.61 versus $0.74 in Q4 2018

Reports Q4 Adjusted Earnings per Diluted Share of $1.85 versus $1.10 in Q4 2018

Defers Fiscal 2020 Guidance due to Heightened Uncertainty Regarding the Evolving COVID-19 Pandemic

SECAUCUS. N.J., March 17, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Children’s Place, Inc. (PLCE), the largest pure-play children’s specialty apparel retailer in North America, today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended February 1, 2020.

Jane Elfers, President and Chief Executive Officer announced, “We delivered Q4 EPS significantly above the high-end of our guided range. Sales exceeded our expectations with our digital business representing 31% of our total sales in Q4.”

Ms. Elfers said, “We successfully launched the Gymboree brand on February 12th, and received a very positive initial response from the customer. Our consolidated comp was running up low-single digits through the first five weeks of Q1, despite the early impact from COVID-19. However, since then, the impact on demand from the evolving COVID-19 pandemic has become significantly greater. We have taken preventative measures across all of our stores in the U.S. and Canada through a combination of store closures and reduced hours based on direction from local government officials and health authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of our associates and our customers. As a result of the uncertainty surrounding the impact and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be providing forward guidance at this time.”

Ms. Elfers continued, “With respect to our supply chain, due to our long-standing diversification strategy, our outstanding team, and our strong vendor partnerships, we currently do not foresee any issues with product deliveries or product delays as a result of the disruption in China.”

Ms. Elfers concluded, “While we are in an uncertain period, the underlying fundamentals of our business are strong. We are confident that our management team will continue to focus on and execute against our key strategic growth initiatives, uniquely positioning us to continue to capture profitable market share, generate strong cash flow, increase returns on our invested capital, and create value for our shareholders in the years ahead.”

Financial Results
The Company’s results are reported in this press release on a GAAP and as adjusted, non-GAAP basis. A reconciliation of non-GAAP to GAAP financial information is provided at the end of this press release.

Fourth Quarter 2019 Results
Net sales decreased 3.3% to $513.0 million in the three months ended February 1, 2020 from $530.6 million in the three months ended February 2, 2019, primarily as a result of a comparable retail sales decrease of 3.6%.

Net income was $24.2 million, or $1.61 per diluted share, in the three months ended February 1, 2020, compared to net income of $12.0 million, or $0.74 per diluted share, in the three months ended February 2, 2019. Adjusted net income was $28.0 million, or $1.85 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $17.9 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, in the comparable period last year.

Gross profit was $166.4 million in the three months ended February 1, 2020, compared to $164.3 million in the three months ended February 2, 2019. Adjusted gross profit was $166.9 million in the three months ended February 1, 2020, compared to $166.9 million in the comparable period last year, and leveraged 100 basis points to 32.5% of net sales, primarily as a result of increased merchandise margins, partly offset by the deleverage of fixed expenses resulting from the decline in comparable retail sales, and increased penetration of our ecommerce business, which operates at a lower gross margin rate.

Selling, general, and administrative expenses were $113.2 million in the three months ended February 1, 2020, compared to $132.5 million in the three months ended February 2, 2019. Adjusted SG&A was $113.0 million in the three months ended February 1, 2020, compared to $128.3 million in the comparable period last year, and leveraged 220 basis points to 22.0% of net sales, primarily as a result of lower incentive compensation, and a reduction in expenses associated with our transformation initiatives, partly offset by the deleverage of fixed expenses resulting from the decline in comparable retail sales.

Operating income was $29.5 million in the three months ended February 1, 2020, compared to operating income of $13.6 million in the three months ended February 2, 2019. Adjusted operating income was $35.4 million in the three months ended February 1, 2020, compared to adjusted operating income of $21.8 million in the comparable period last year, and leveraged 280 basis points to 6.9% of net sales.

The effective tax rate was 12.6% in the three months ended February 1, 2020, compared to an effective tax rate of 6.9% in the three months ended February 2, 2019. The adjusted effective tax rate was 16.8% in the three months ended February 1, 2020, compared to an adjusted effective tax rate of 15.4% in the three months ended February 2, 2019. While the adjusted effective tax rate was higher than the comparable period last year, it was lower than expected due to a favorable geographic mix of income and lower non-deductible executive compensation expense.

For the three months ended February 1, 2020, the Company’s adjusted results exclude net expenses of approximately $3.7 million, as compared to excluded net expenses of approximately $5.8 million in the three months ended February 2, 2019, comprising certain items, which the Company believes are not reflective of the performance of its core business. For the three months ended February 1, 2020, these excluded items are primarily related to asset impairment charges, fleet optimization costs, costs incurred in connection with the integration of the Gymboree brand, restructuring costs, and accelerated depreciation, partly offset by a reversal of a provision for foreign exchange penalties. For the three months ended February 2, 2019, these excluded items primarily related to omni-channel fulfillment operational inefficiencies, accelerated depreciation, restructuring costs, consulting costs for organizational design efforts, state tax audit costs, asset impairment charges, and costs incurred in connection with the review of the company’s warehouse and distribution network.

Fiscal 2019 Results
Net sales decreased 3.5% to $1.871 billion in the twelve months ended February 1, 2020 from $1.938 billion in the twelve months ended February 2, 2019, primarily as a result of a comparable retail sales decrease of 2.7%.

Net income was $73.3 million, or $4.68 per diluted share, in the twelve months ended February 1, 2020, compared to net income of $101.0 million, or $6.01 per diluted share, in the twelve months ended February 2, 2019. Adjusted net income was $83.8 million, or $5.36 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $113.4 million, or $6.75 per diluted share, in the comparable period last year.

Gross profit was $655.3 million in the twelve months ended February 1, 2020, compared to $683.6 million in the twelve months ended February 2, 2019. Adjusted gross profit was $655.3 million in the twelve months ended February 1, 2020, compared to $687.4 million in the comparable period last year, and deleveraged 50 basis points to 35.0% of net sales, primarily as a result of the deleverage of fixed expenses resulting from the decline in comparable retail sales, and increased penetration of our ecommerce business, which operates at a lower gross margin rate, partly offset by increased merchandise margins.

Selling, general, and administrative expenses were $478.1 million in the twelve months ended February 1, 2020, compared to $498.3 million in the twelve months ended February 2, 2019. Adjusted SG&A was $472.3 million in the twelve months ended February 1, 2020, compared to $491.3 million in the comparable period last year, and leveraged 10 basis points to 25.2% of net sales, primarily as a result of a reduction in expenses associated with our transformation initiatives, and lower incentive compensation, partly offset by the deleverage of fixed expenses resulting from the decline in comparable retail sales.

Operating income was $96.4 million in the twelve months ended February 1, 2020, compared to operating income of $111.3 million in the twelve months ended February 2, 2019. Adjusted operating income was $111.3 million in the twelve months ended February 1, 2020, compared to adjusted operating income of $128.5 million in the comparable period last year, and deleveraged 60 basis points to 6.0% of net sales.

For the twelve months ended February 1, 2020, the Company’s adjusted results exclude net expenses of approximately $10.5 million, as compared to excluded net expenses of approximately $12.4 million in the twelve months ended February 2, 2019, comprising certain items, which the Company believes are not reflective of the performance of its core business. For the twelve months ended February 1, 2020, these excluded items are primarily related to asset impairment charges, accelerated depreciation, restructuring costs, fleet optimization costs, costs incurred in connection with the integration of the Gymboree brand, and distribution facility start-up costs, partly offset by a reversal of a provision for foreign exchange penalties. For the twelve months ended February 2, 2019, these excluded items are primarily related to asset impairment charges, omni-channel fulfillment operational inefficiencies, restructuring costs, consulting costs for organizational design efforts, accelerated depreciation, costs incurred in connection with the review of the Company’s warehouse and distribution network, system transition costs, and a provision for an insurance claim deductible, partly offset by a state sales and use tax audit settlement, an insurance claim settlement and other income.

Store Openings and Closures
Consistent with the Company’s store fleet optimization initiative, the Company opened two stores and closed 33 stores in the three months ended February 1, 2020. The Company ended the quarter with 924 stores and square footage of 4.3 million, a decrease of 4.0% compared to the prior year. Since our fleet optimization initiative was announced in 2013, the Company has closed 271 stores.

The Company’s international franchise partners opened six net new points of distribution in the three months ended February 1, 2020, and the Company ended the quarter with 266 international points of distribution open and operated by its eight franchise partners in 19 countries.

Capital Return Program
During the three months ended February 1, 2020, the Company repurchased 557 thousand shares for approximately $38 million, inclusive of shares repurchased and surrendered to cover tax withholdings associated with the vesting of equity awards held by management. The Company also paid a quarterly dividend of approximately $8 million, or $0.56 per share, in the quarter.

During fiscal 2019, the Company repurchased approximately 1.6 million shares for approximately $131 million, inclusive of shares repurchased and surrendered to cover tax withholdings associated with the vesting of equity awards held by management. The Company also paid quarterly dividends totaling approximately $35 million in the twelve months ended February 1, 2020.

Since 2009, the Company has repurchased approximately $1.25 billion of its common stock and, since 2014, paid approximately $135 million in dividends. At the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, approximately $108 million remained available for future share repurchases under the Company’s existing share repurchase program.

Liquidity
The Company generated approximately $178 million in operating cash flow for the twelve months ended February 1, 2020, which supported $166 million in capital return to investors. The Company enters fiscal 2020 with approximately $68 million of cash and cash equivalents and no long-term debt, and $171 million outstanding on its $325 million revolving credit facility. In addition, the revolving credit facility provides for an additional $50 million of liquidity through an uncommitted accordion feature.

Outlook
As a result of the heightened uncertainty regarding the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the Company is deferring its fiscal 2020 financial guidance and cancelling its webcast review and conference call scheduled for Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

In response to the ongoing uncertainty, the Company has implemented strategic cost reduction strategies, including reducing capital expenditures, across all functional areas. Inventory management will continue to be a strategic focus for the Company. Additionally, the Company’s capital return program, inclusive of share repurchases and dividends, has been temporarily suspended. The Company maintains strong, long-term relationships with its vendors, landlords, and banking partners, which helps support its ability to navigate challenging times.

Conference Call Information
The Children’s Place has cancelled its conference call scheduled for Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Financial Results
The Company’s results are reported in this press release on a GAAP and as adjusted, non-GAAP basis. Adjusted net income, adjusted net income per diluted share, adjusted gross profit, adjusted selling, general, and administrative expense, adjusted operating income, and adjusted operating margin are non-GAAP measures, and are not intended to replace GAAP financial information and may be different from non-GAAP measures reported by other companies. The Company believes the income and expense items excluded as non-GAAP adjustments are not reflective of the performance of its core business and that providing this supplemental disclosure to investors will facilitate comparisons of the past and present performance of its core business. The Company uses non-GAAP results as one of the metrics to measure operating performance, including, to measure performance for purposes of the Company’s annual bonus and long-term incentive compensation plans.

About The Children’s Place
The Children’s Place is the largest pure-play children’s specialty apparel retailer in North America. The Company designs, contracts to manufacture, sells at retail and wholesale, and licenses to sell fashionable, high-quality merchandise predominantly at value prices, primarily under the proprietary “The Children’s Place”, “Place”, “Baby Place,” and “Gymboree” brand names. As of February 1, 2020, the Company operated 924 stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, an online store at www.childrensplace.com, and had 266 international points of distribution open and operated by its eight franchise partners in 19 countries.

Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains or may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including but not limited to statements relating to the Company’s strategic initiatives and adjusted net income per diluted share. Forward-looking statements typically are identified by use of terms such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “plan,” “project,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate” and similar words, although some forward-looking statements are expressed differently. These forward-looking statements are based upon the Company's current expectations and assumptions and are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and performance to differ materially. Some of these risks and uncertainties are described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the “Risk Factors” section of its annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 2, 2019. Included among the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and performance to differ materially are the risk that the Company will be unsuccessful in gauging fashion trends and changing consumer preferences, risks related to COVID-19 and its impacts on our markets (including decreased customer traffic, closures of schools and other activities causing decreased demand for our products and negative impacts on our customers’ spending patterns due to decreased income or actual or perceived wealth), the risks resulting from the highly competitive nature of the Company’s business and its dependence on consumer spending patterns, which may be affected by changes in economic conditions, the risk that the Company’s strategic initiatives to increase sales and margin are delayed or do not result in anticipated improvements, the risk of delays, interruptions and disruptions in the Company’s global supply chain, including resulting from COVID-19 or other disease outbreaks, foreign sources of supply in less developed countries or more politically unstable countries, the risk that the cost of raw materials or energy prices will increase beyond current expectations or that the Company is unable to offset cost increases through value engineering or price increases, various types of litigation, including class action litigations brought under consumer protection, employment, and privacy and information security laws and regulations, the imposition of regulations affecting the importation of foreign-produced merchandise, including duties and tariffs, and the uncertainty of weather patterns. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they were made. The Company undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.


Contact:  Anthony Attardo, CFA, Director, Investor Relations, (201) 453-6693

(Tables follow)


                 
 THE CHILDREN’S PLACE, INC. 
 CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
 (In thousands, except per share amounts)
 (Unaudited) 
                 
                 
    Fourth Quarter Ended   Year-To-Date Ended
    February 1, February 2, February 1,   February 2,
      2020       2019       2020       2019  
Net sales   $ 513,020     $ 530,558     $ 1,870,667     $ 1,938,084  
Cost of sales     346,660       366,239       1,215,362       1,254,488  
Gross profit     166,360       164,319       655,305       683,596  
Selling, general and administrative expenses     113,183       132,534       478,120       498,343  
Asset impairment charges     4,731       464       6,039       6,096  
Other costs (income)     -       200       -       (1,055 )
Depreciation and amortization     18,911       17,479       74,788       68,884  
Operating income     29,535       13,642       96,358       111,328  
Interest expense     (1,797 )     (730 )     (7,941 )     (2,804 )
Income before taxes     27,738       12,912       88,417       108,524  
Provision for income taxes     3,497       889       15,117       7,564  
Net income   $ 24,241     $ 12,023     $ 73,300     $ 100,960  
                 
Earnings per common share                
Basic   $ 1.61     $ 0.75     $ 4.71     $ 6.10  
Diluted   $ 1.61     $ 0.74     $ 4.68     $ 6.01  
                 
Weighted average common shares outstanding                
Basic     15,027       16,134       15,547       16,542  
Diluted     15,101       16,277       15,653       16,805  
                 



                   
 THE CHILDREN’S PLACE, INC. 
 RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP FINANCIAL INFORMATION TO GAAP
 (In thousands, except per share amounts) 
 (Unaudited) 
                   
                   
    Fourth Quarter Ended   Year-To-Date Ended  
    February 1, February 2, February 1, February 2,
      2020       2019       2020       2019    
                   
Net income   $ 24,241     $ 12,023     $ 73,300     $ 100,960    
                   
Non-GAAP adjustments:                  
Asset impairment charges     4,731       464       6,039       6,096    
Fleet optimization costs     1,104       -       2,297       -    
Gymboree integration costs     1,076       -       2,144       -    
Restructuring costs     690       633       2,808       3,149    
Accelerated depreciation     478       665       3,145       1,211    
Foreign exchange penalties     (2,200 )     -       (2,200 )     -    
Omni-channel fulfillment operational inefficiencies     -       4,985       -       4,985    
Organizational design costs     -       590       -       2,239    
System transition costs     -       -       -       250    
Distribution facility start-up costs     -       -       721       -    
Distribution network review costs     -       374       -       752    
Sales tax audit     -       470       -       (48 )  
Other income     -       -       -       (1,097 )  
Insurance claim settlement, net     -       -       -       (406 )  
Aggregate impact of Non-GAAP adjustments     5,879       8,181       14,954       17,131    
Income tax effect (1)     (2,140 )     (2,179 )     (4,545 )     (4,424 )  
Prior year uncertain tax positions (2)     -       (173 )     135       (285 )  
Net impact of Non-GAAP adjustments     3,739       5,829       10,544       12,422    
                   
Adjusted net income   $ 27,980     $ 17,852     $ 83,844     $ 113,382    
                   
GAAP net income per common share   $ 1.61     $ 0.74     $ 4.68     $ 6.01    
                   
Adjusted net income per common share   $ 1.85     $ 1.10     $ 5.36     $ 6.75    
                   
(1) The tax effects of the non-GAAP items are calculated based on the statutory rate of the jurisdiction in which the discrete item resides.        
                   
(2) Prior year tax related to uncertain tax positions.        
                   
    Fourth Quarter Ended   Year-To-Date Ended  
    February 1, February 2, February 1, February 2,
      2020       2019       2020       2019    
                   
Operating income   $ 29,535     $ 13,642     $ 96,358     $ 111,328    
                   
Non-GAAP adjustments:                  
Asset impairment charges     4,731       464       6,039       6,096    
Fleet optimization costs     1,104       -       2,297       -    
Gymboree integration costs     1,076       -       2,144       -    
Restructuring costs     690       633       2,808       3,149    
Accelerated depreciation     478       665       3,145       1,211    
Foreign exchange penalties     (2,200 )     -       (2,200 )     -    
Omni-channel fulfillment operational inefficiencies     -       4,985       -       4,985    
Organizational design costs     -       590       -       2,239    
System transition costs     -       -       -       250    
Distribution facility start-up costs     -       -       721       -    
Distribution network review costs     -       374       -       752    
Sales tax audit     -       470       -       (48 )  
Other income     -       -       -       (1,097 )  
Insurance claim settlement, net     -       -       -       (406 )  
Aggregate impact of Non-GAAP adjustments     5,879       8,181       14,954       17,131    
                   
Adjusted operating income   $ 35,414     $ 21,823     $ 111,312     $ 128,459    
                   



                 
 THE CHILDREN’S PLACE, INC. 
 RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP FINANCIAL INFORMATION TO GAAP
 (In thousands, except per share amounts)
 (Unaudited) 
                 
                 
    Fourth Quarter Ended   Year-To-Date Ended
    February 1, February 2, February 1, February 2,
      2020       2019       2020       2019  
                 
Gross Profit   $ 166,360     $ 164,319     $ 655,305     $ 683,596  
                 
Non-GAAP adjustments:                
Fleet optimization costs     512       -       (38 )     -  
Omni-channel fulfillment operational inefficiencies     -       2,593       -       2,593  
Restructuring costs     -       -       -       1,239  
Aggregate impact of Non-GAAP adjustments     512       2,593       (38 )     3,832  
                 
Adjusted Gross Profit   $ 166,872     $ 166,912     $ 655,267     $ 687,428  
                 
                 
                 
    Fourth Quarter Ended   Year-To-Date Ended
    February 1, February 2, February 1, February 2,
      2020       2019       2020       2019  
                 
Selling, general and administrative expenses   $ 113,183     $ 132,534     $ 478,120     $ 498,343  
                 
Non-GAAP adjustments:                
Gymboree integration costs     (1,076 )     -       (2,144 )     -  
Restructuring costs     (690 )     (432 )     (2,808 )     (2,713 )
Fleet optimization costs     (592 )     -       (2,335 )     -  
Foreign exchange penalties     2,200       -       2,200       -  
Omni-channel fulfillment operational inefficiencies     -       (2,392 )     -       (2,392 )
Organizational design costs     -       (590 )     -       (2,490 )
System transition costs     -       -       -       (250 )
Distribution facility start-up costs     -       -       (721 )     -  
Distribution network review costs     -       (374 )     -       (752 )
Sales tax audit     -       (470 )     -       48  
Other income     -       -       -       1,097  
Insurance claim settlement, net     -       -       -       406  
Aggregate impact of Non-GAAP adjustments     (158 )     (4,258 )     (5,808 )     (7,046 )
                 
Adjusted Selling, general and administrative expenses   $ 113,025     $ 128,276     $ 472,312     $ 491,297  
                 



 
THE CHILDREN’S PLACE, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands)
(Unaudited) 
         
    February 1,   February 2,
     2020   2019*
Assets:        
Cash and cash equivalents   $ 68,487   $ 69,136
Accounts receivable     32,812     35,123
Inventories     327,165     303,466
Other current assets     21,416     27,670
Total current assets     449,880     435,395
         
Property and equipment, net     236,898     260,357
Right-of-use assets     393,820     -
Tradenames, net     73,291     -
Other assets, net     27,508     31,294
Total assets   $ 1,181,397   $ 727,046
         
Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity:        
Revolving loan   $ 170,808   $ 48,861
Accounts payable     213,115     194,786
Current lease liabilities     121,868     -
Accrued expenses and other current liabilities     89,216     87,752
Total current liabilities     595,007     331,399
         
Long-term lease liabilities     311,908     -
Other liabilities     39,295     81,210
Total liabilities     946,210     412,609
         
Stockholders' equity     235,187     314,437
         
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity   $ 1,181,397   $ 727,046
         
         
         
* Derived from the audited consolidated financial statements included in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 2, 2019.
         



THE CHILDREN’S PLACE, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED CASH FLOWS
(In thousands)
(Unaudited) 
 
    52 Weeks
Ended
  52 Weeks
Ended
    February 1, February 2,
      2020       2019  
         
Net income   $ 73,300     $ 100,960  
Non-cash adjustments     251,645       97,526  
Working Capital     (147,043 )     (58,572 )
Net cash provided by operating activities     177,902       139,914  
         
         
Net cash used in investing activities     (134,350 )     (56,863 )
         
         
Net cash used in financing activities     (44,374 )     (259,183 )
         
         
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash     173       749  
         
         
Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents     (649 )     (175,383 )
         
         
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period     69,136       244,519  
         
         
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period   $ 68,487     $ 69,136