The Children's Place is the largest pure-play children's specialty apparel retail in North America (ahead of Gymboree). It operates some 960 Children's Place stores, primarily in malls and outlet centers throughout the US and Puerto Rico, as well as nearly 135 stores in Canada. It has more than 70 international stores operated by franchise partners. It also sells apparel online. The Children's Place outfits children from newborn to 12 years old in its own brand of value-priced apparel, shoes, and accessories, most of which is produced by manufacturers. About 85% of its sales come from stores in the US.
The company operates in two primary geographic segments: US, which accounts for about 85% of revenue, and International, which accounts for the rest.
Online sales represent an increasingly important part of revenue. Online sales have more than doubled since 2009 and represented 16% of total revenue in fiscal 2015 (ended January). In addition, private-label credit card sales brought in 10% of revenue.
The company sources its merchandise from about 105 independent garment manufacturers in Greater Asia. China represented about 34% of total goods purchased in FY2015, followed by Bangladesh (20%), Vietnam (15%), and Indonesia (8%).
The Children's Place boasts stores across the US and Canada. Its warehouse distribution centers are in the US (Alabama) and Canada (Ontario), while its product support locations are in China, Bangladesh, and India.
Sales and Marketing
The company targets its best customers with direct mail to build its brand and loyalty. The children's retailer spent $30.9 million on advertising in fiscal 2015 (ended January 2015), down from $33.8 million and $37.1 million in fiscal years 2014 and 2013, respectively.
The Children's Place has struggled to boost its annual sales over the past few years despite increasing its store count from 995 in early 2011 to nearly 1,100 today. Meanwhile, its annual profits have declined nearly 30% as the cost of sales has continued to rise.
The retailer's sales remained mostly flat in fiscal 2015 (ended January 2015), with sales dipping less than 1% on weaker comparable store sales in Canada with lower average dollar transaction size and lower transaction volumes. Its Canadian e-commerce sales, however, picked up. Sales in the US grew by less than 1% in the US thanks to higher average dollar transaction sizes.
The Children's Place's profit rebounded for the first time in several years, jumping 7% to $56.9 million during FY2015 thanks to a decrease in asset impairment charges and modest revenue growth. The retailer's operating cash levels tumbled 7% to $161.4 million mainly due to unfavorable changes in working capital related to changes in inventories and accounts payable and other receivables.
The Children's Place has been shuffling its portfolio of stores, shuttering less-desirable locations while opening new locations to improve profitability. The retailer closed some 70 stores in 2013 and 2014, and planned in 2015 to close 200 more locations through 2017.
The children's retailer has also been expanding its international presence of franchised stores, particularly in the Middle East (including in its key market of Israel). In 2015, The Children's Place announced a franchise agreement with Arvind Lifestyle Brand Limited with the potential to open up to 50 stores in India during the year. In mid-2014, The Children's Place partnered with Grupo David to expand into Latin America and the Caribbean, with an expected 35 to 40 stores planned over the next few years.
The Children's Place's merchandising strategy is to offer a compelling mixture of clothing, shoes, and accessories that are fun and easy to put together. The company is continuing to invest in its fast-growing its online business and is sharpening its marketing message. Its tagline -- "Big Fashion, Little Prices" -- stresses its value-priced, high-quality, high-fashion offering.
The Children's Place was founded in 1988.