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Children's Place posts 2Q sales dip

SECAUCUS, N.J. — The Children's Place Retail Stores announced second quarter net sales were $343.5 million, compared with $345.3 million in the second quarter of 2010. Comparable-retail sales declined 5.6% in the second quarter of 2011.

The company reported that the loss from continuing operations after tax was $9.8 million, or 38 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2011, compared with a loss of $8.3 million, or 30 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2010. The 38 cents per share loss was at the upper-end of the company's guidance range for the quarter.

During the second quarter of 2011, the company opened 28 new stores compared to 18 stores in 2010. Fiscal year-to-date, The Children's Place opened 70 new stores compared with 34 stores in the first half of 2010.

"Our strategy to significantly reduce the amount of unproductive inventory in our stores resulted in lower mark-downs and solid margin expansion during the quarter, despite higher product costs," commented Jane Elfers, president and CEO of The Children's Place. "The competitive environment was highly promotional throughout the quarter which constrained top-line sales. However, with our significantly improved merchandise and tightly controlled inventory, we were able to reach the high-end of our guidance range."

The Children's Place said it now expects its fiscal 2011 earnings guidance to be in the range of $3.13 to $3.25 per share."