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The Children’s Place Reports First Quarter 2016 Results

Reports Comparable Retail Sales Increase of 5.1%
Delivers Adjusted Earnings per Share of $1.32, a 59% Increase
Increases Fiscal 2016 Adjusted EPS Guidance to $4.17 to $4.27, Versus Previous Guidance of $4.00 to $4.10
Returns $47 Million to Shareholders

SECAUCUS, N.J., May 17, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Children’s Place, Inc. (Nasdaq:PLCE), the largest pure-play children’s specialty apparel retailer in North America, today announced financial results for the thirteen weeks ended April 30, 2016.

Jane Elfers, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “For the first quarter, we delivered adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.32, compared to $0.83 in the first quarter of 2015, a 59% increase. Comparable retail sales were positive 5.1%, on top of a positive 0.7% comp in the first quarter of 2015. Comparable retail sales were positive in all three months of the quarter and were also positive across all divisions and channels. We increased adjusted gross margin by 170 basis points, leveraged adjusted SG&A by 140 basis points and increased adjusted operating margin by 280 basis points. Our inventories were down 11% at quarter-end, on top of an 8% decrease in the first quarter of 2015 and we returned $47 million to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.”

Elfers continued, “We are raising our guidance for the full year, despite the challenging environment and continued weakness in store traffic. This guidance assumes a low single digit comp sales increase, expansion of gross margin and disciplined expense control.”

Elfers concluded, “These strong results further demonstrate our ability to deliver on our multi-pronged transformation strategy - superior product, business transformation through technology, global growth through alternate channels of distribution and store fleet optimization. These growth initiatives are led by a best in class management team and supported by a foundation of operational excellence.”

First Quarter 2016 Results
Net sales increased 3.6% to $419.4 million in the first quarter of 2016. The quarter included the negative impact of approximately $2.2 million from currency exchange rate fluctuations. On a constant currency basis, net sales were $421.6 million, a 4.1% increase, compared to net sales of $404.9 million in the first quarter of 2015. Comparable retail sales increased 5.1% in the first quarter of 2016.

Net income was $26.0 million, or $1.33 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2016, compared to net income of $15.6 million, or $0.73 per diluted share, the previous year. Adjusted net income was $25.8 million, or $1.32 per diluted share, an increase of 59.0%, inclusive of a negative ($0.01) impact due to foreign exchange, compared to $17.7 million, or $0.83 per diluted share, in the first quarter last year. On a constant currency basis, adjusted net income per diluted share was $1.33, a 60.2% increase, compared to the first quarter of 2015.

Gross profit was $165.4 million in the first quarter, compared to $152.1 million in the first quarter of 2015. Adjusted gross profit was $165.3 million in the first quarter, compared to $152.5 million last year, and leveraged 170 basis points to 39.4% of sales primarily as a result of merchandise margin leverage and a higher AUR.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $109.2 million compared to $114.5 million in the first quarter of 2015. Adjusted SG&A was $109.6 million compared to $111.3 million in the first quarter last year and leveraged 140 basis points as a percentage of sales primarily as a result of decreased store and administrative expenses which were partially offset by increased incentive compensation expenses.

Operating income was $39.6 million, compared to $23.2 million in the first quarter of 2015. Adjusted operating income in the first quarter of 2016 was $39.2 million compared to adjusted operating income of $26.7 million in the first quarter last year, and leveraged 280 basis points to 9.4% of sales.

During the first quarter, the Company recorded income of $0.4 million for unusual items, which primarily consisted of certain non-recurring items, including income related to restructuring and store dispositions.

Adjusted net income, adjusted net income per diluted share, adjusted gross profit, adjusted SG&A, and adjusted operating income are non-GAAP measures, and are not intended to replace GAAP financial information. The Company believes the excluded items are not indicative of the performance of its core business and that providing this supplemental disclosure to investors will facilitate comparisons of its past and present performance. A reconciliation to GAAP financial information is provided at the end of this release.

Store Openings and Closures
Consistent with our store fleet rationalization initiative, the Company closed 5 stores during the first quarter of 2016. The Company ended the first quarter with 1,064 stores and square footage of 4.968 million, a decrease of 2.6% compared to the prior year. The Company’s international franchise partners opened 9 points of distribution in the first quarter, and the Company ended the quarter with 110 international points of distribution open and operated by its 6 franchise partners in 16 countries.

Capital Return Program
During the first quarter of 2016, the Company returned approximately $47 million to shareholders through the repurchase of 595,291 shares and its quarterly dividend payment at the increased rate of $0.20 per share. Since 2009, the Company has returned over $671 million to its investors through share repurchases and dividends. At the end of the first quarter, approximately $227 million remained available for future share repurchases under the Company’s existing share repurchase program.

Additionally, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized a quarterly dividend of $0.20 per share, payable on July 7, 2016 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 16, 2016.

Outlook
The Company is updating its outlook for fiscal 2016 and now expects adjusted net income per diluted share to be in the range of $4.17 to $4.27, inclusive of a ($0.12) negative impact from foreign exchange. This compares to the Company’s previous guidance of $4.00 to $4.10 per diluted share and to adjusted net income per diluted share of $3.60 in fiscal 2015. This guidance assumes a positive low single digit increase in comparable retail sales for the year.

The Company expects adjusted net loss per diluted share in the second quarter of 2016 will be between ($0.30) and ($0.22), inclusive of an estimated ($0.02) negative impact from foreign exchange. This compares to adjusted net loss per diluted share of ($0.33) in the second quarter of 2015. This guidance assumes a comparable retail sales increase of 1% to 2%.

Conference Call Information
The Children’s Place will host a conference call to discuss its first quarter 2016 results today at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The call will be broadcast live at http://investor.childrensplace.com. An audio archive will be available on the Company’s website approximately one hour after the conclusion of the call.

About The Children’s Place, Inc.
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 at value prices, primarily under the proprietary “The Children’s Place,” “Place” and “Baby Place” brand names. As of April 30, 2016, the Company operated 1,064 stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, an online store at www.childrensplace.com, and had 110 international points of distribution open and operated by its 6 franchise partners in 16 countries.

Forward Looking Statements
This press release (and the above referenced call) may contain certain forward-looking statements regarding future circumstances, including statements relating to the Company’s strategic initiatives and adjusted net income per diluted share. 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 January 30, 2016. 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, 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 the weakness in the economy that continues to affect the Company’s target customer, the risk that the Company’s strategic initiatives to increase sales and margin are delayed or do not result in anticipated improvements, 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, 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. The inclusion of any statement in this release (or on the above referenced call) does not constitute an admission by the Company or any other person that the events or circumstances described in such statement are material.

(Tables Follow)

THE CHILDREN’S PLACE, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
(Unaudited)
First Quarter Ended
April 30, May 2,
2016 2015
Net sales $ 419,351 $ 404,865
Cost of sales 254,000 252,756
Gross profit 165,351 152,109
Selling, general and administrative expenses 109,212 114,514
Other costs (income) 68 (3)
Depreciation and amortization 16,461 14,394
Operating income 39,610 23,204
Interest income (expense), net (74) (176)
Income before taxes 39,536 23,028
Provision for income taxes 13,551 7,421
Net income $ 25,985 $ 15,607
Earnings per common share
Basic $ 1.35 $ 0.74
Diluted $ 1.33 $ 0.73
Weighted average common shares outstanding
Basic 19,200 21,012
Diluted 19,569 21,366

THE CHILDREN’S PLACE, INC.
RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP FINANCIAL INFORMATION TO GAAP
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
(Unaudited)
First Quarter Ended
April 30, May 2,
2016 2015
Net income $ 25,985 $ 15,607
Non-GAAP adjustments:
Store disposition (44) 342
Restructuring costs (423) 446
Proxy costs 12 2,738
DC exit costs (income) 68 (3)
Aggregate impact of Non-GAAP adjustments (387) 3,523
Income tax effect (1) 162 (1,393)
Net impact of Non-GAAP adjustments (225) 2,130
Adjusted net income $ 25,760 $ 17,737
GAAP net income per common share $1.33 $0.73
Adjusted net income per common share $1.32 $0.83
(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.
Operating income $ 39,610 $ 23,204
Non-GAAP adjustments:
Store disposition (44) 342
Restructuring costs (423) 446
Proxy costs 12 2,738
DC exit costs (income) 68 (3)
Aggregate impact of Non-GAAP adjustments (387) 3,523
Adjusted operating income $ 39,223 $ 26,727

THE CHILDREN’S PLACE, INC.
RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP FINANCIAL INFORMATION TO GAAP
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
(Unaudited)
First Quarter Ended
April 30, May 2,
2016 2015
Gross Profit $ 165,351 $ 152,109
Non-GAAP adjustments:
Store disposition (50) 342
Aggregate impact of Non-GAAP adjustments (50) 342
Adjusted Gross Profit $ 165,301 $ 152,451
Selling, general and administrative expenses $ 109,212 $ 114,514
Non-GAAP adjustments:
Store disposition (6) -
Restructuring costs 423 (446)
Proxy costs (12) (2,738)
Aggregate impact of Non-GAAP adjustments 405 (3,184)
Adjusted Selling, general and administrative expenses $ 109,617 $ 111,330

THE CHILDREN’S PLACE, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands)
(Unaudited)
April 30, January 30, May 2,
2016 2016* 2015
Assets:
Cash and cash equivalents $ 174,801 $ 187,534 $ 141,282
Short-term investments 58,801 40,100 59,280
Accounts receivable 25,539 26,315 25,041
Inventories 250,280 268,831 281,059
Other current assets 47,404 58,528 52,295
Total current assets 556,825 581,308 558,957
Property and equipment, net 283,448 290,980 309,548
Other assets, net 28,943 25,660 41,598
Total assets $ 869,216 $ 897,948 $ 910,103
Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity:
Revolving loan $ 25,000 $ - $ 11,186
Accounts payable 127,454 154,541 130,899
Accrued expenses and other current liabilities 98,332 120,481 104,679
Total current liabilities 250,786 275,022 246,764
Other liabilities 94,931 95,133 92,546
Total liabilities 345,717 370,155 339,310
Stockholders' equity 523,499 527,793 570,793
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $ 869,216 $ 897,948 $ 910,103
* Derived from the audited consolidated financial statements included in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 30, 2016.

THE CHILDREN’S PLACE, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED CASH FLOWS
(In thousands)
(Unaudited)
13 Weeks Ended
April 30, May 2,
2016 2015
Net income $ 25,985 $ 15,607
Non-cash adjustments 14,064 14,135
Working Capital (11,754) (16,346)
Net cash provided by operating activities 28,295 13,396
Net cash used in investing activities (25,834) (17,346)
Net cash used in financing activities (23,945) (31,925)
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash 8,751 3,866
Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents (12,733) (32,009)
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period 187,534 173,291
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period $ 174,801 $ 141,282


Contact: Robert Vill, Group Vice President, Finance (201) 453-6693

Source:The Children's Place, Inc.