The Children’s Place to close 300 stores; liquidation sales to begin soon

The Children’s Place has announced it will close 300 stores during the next two years following losses tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and the company’s desire to reduce its brick and mortar footprint.

In an earnings conference call last week, the children’s clothing retailer cited an increase in e-commerce as one of the factors in the decision to close the stores, many of which are located in malls.

Around 200 stores are expected to be closed by the end of 2020, with an additional 100 slated to close in 2021.

The Children’s Place has 920 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

“This initiative will greatly reduce our reliance on our brick-and-mortar channel and we are targeting our mall-based, brick-and-mortar portfolio to represent less than 25% of our revenue entering fiscal 2022,” Jane Elfers, president and CEO said in a statement.

The company announced during an earnings call Thursday that net sales fell 38% in the first quarter of 2020. However, online sales increased by 12% to approximately 53% of total net sales.

Only about 6% of the company’s stores had reopened as of last week following closings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said it expects most of its locations will be reopened by July 1.

According to Mike Scarpa, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, the company will hold liquidation sales at 50 locations within the next six weeks.

“We expect that a good portion of them will open and liquidate and then will close, depending on the inventories that are left in the store,” CFO and COO Mike Scarpa said in the conference call.

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