SECAUCUS, NJ-The Children’s Place Retail Stores yesterday reported that Q4 net income nearly doubled, rising 91% to $45.7 million versus $23.9 million a year earlier. The results came as Q4 consolidated net sales rose 17% to $539.7 million from $462.1 million a year earlier, the company’s chairman and CEO, Ezra Dabah, reported.

Of the total sales, $355.1 million was generated by the Children’s Place, and $184.6 million came from the Disney Store division. Diluted earnings per share increased 85% to $1.57 from 85 cents.

And for fiscal year 2005, net income increased 53% to $65.6 million versus $42.8 million, including extraordinary gain, the previous year. Net sales rose 44% to just under $1.67 billion from $1.16 billion for 2004. The Children’s Place share of net sales rose 18% to $1.17 billion, while the Disney share of the total amounted to $497.7 million. Diluted earnings per share increased 46% to $2.27 from $1.55.

“Last year was another great year for our company,” Dabah said during yesterday’s webcast. “The Children’s Place brand continues to grow its market share, and the growth and leverage the company achieved in Q4 is a testament to our scaleable systems infrastructure and our management team.

“At Disney Store, while Q4 proved to be challenging, we have made progress in terms of positioning it for success,” Dabah continued. “Disney has a great lineup of new content that will be coming out in 2006, and we have aligned our merchandise strategies to take advantage of that in a big way.”

At the same time, the specialty children’s merchandise purveyor yesterday reported Q4 same-store sales up 11% from a year earlier, this on top of the 17% increase registered the previous year. For the full year, same-store sales increased 9%, compared to a 16% increase last year. The results don’t include Disney, which didn’t enter the same-store sales base until last month.

In other results, the company opened 55 Children’s Place stores and closed three in FY 2005, and opened 18 Disney Stores while closing seven. For Q4, the company opened 16 Children’s Place and two Disney Stores, while shuttering six of the latter. As of Feb. 25, 2006, the company owned and operated 802 Children’s Place outlets and 316 Disney stores, and also operates an online store.

“We believe that The Children’s Place and Disney Store can be grown up to 1,800 stores,” Dabah told analysts. “That leaves us with a net of 700 stores still to open. We are confident that both brands have a great deal of opportunity to deliver significant, profitable growth for years to come.”

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