Children's Place CEO says delivered 'outstanding' Q4 results
CEO Jane Elfers said, "We delivered outstanding fourth quarter and full year 2017 results. Comparable retail sales increased 8.2% in the fourth quarter on top of a positive 6.9% comp in the fourth quarter of 2016. We achieved positive comparable retail sales in all channels and geographies. Gross margin, merchandise margin, adjusted operating margin, adjusted earnings per diluted share, AUR, ADS, UPT, transactions and conversion all exceeded last year for the quarter and for the full year. The fourth quarter was our 9th consecutive quarter of positive comps and our 12th consecutive quarter of merchandise margin expansion. Importantly, our store traffic has experienced sequential improvement for each of the past seven quarters. For FY 2017, comparable retail sales increased 5.8%." Elfers continued, "We are uniquely positioned to grow market share and we are focusing our accelerated investments in four key areas: digital technologies, supply chain optimization, our four-wall customer experience and our new China partnership that we announced today in a separate release. In addition, we expect to return significant capital to our shareholders this year through a three-pronged approach: a $125 million accelerated share repurchase program, a new $250 million share repurchase authorization, and a 25% increase in our dividend. Based upon the significant investments we are making to accelerate our transformation, our unique and consistently compelling product offering, our proven ability to grow market share, our strong operating fundamentals, our best-in-class management team, and most importantly, our long and consistent track record of delivering results, we now expect to achieve a 12% operating margin milestone by the end of 2020 with EPS of $12.00."