Children's Place Retail Stores (PLCE) stock is trading around $56.9 versus a 52-week range of $43.12-$62.24. The stock trades with a P/E multiple of 17 times, and a forward P/E of 15 times. The company's peer group trades in the range of 13-14 times. Although the valuation does not look attractive at this point, the fundamentals discussed below, prompt investors to put the name on their radar screen. In the past year, Children's Place stock has been up 25% versus others in its peer group such as Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), which is down 45%, Aeropostale (ARO), which is down 23%, The Gap (GPS), which is up 75%, and Urban Outfitters (URBN), which is up 35%.
Majority institutional holders of the stock are Adage Capital (9.3%), Wellington Management (6.29%), Vanguard Group (5.76%), Royce & Associates (6%) and Alliance Bernstein (5.2%).
Positive initiatives taken by the company:
Children's Place is exploring the wholesale channel as an additional opportunity to expand its revenue base. Sam's Club will test some of the company's products during the holiday season and the 2013 spring season. The products will be sold at the made-for-outlet price. Made-for-outlet merchandise currently accounst for two-thirds of the Children's Place outlet mix.
E-Commerce efforts provide for an additional growth opportunity. The company plans to move its outlet center clearance products to its online platform. This initiative is expected to expand E-commerce from 11% to 15% of sales.
Operating margins continue to improve from 4.5% in 2007 to 6.5% in 2011. With the changes mentioned above, a further improvement would be expected.
The company has a conservative balance sheet with $159 million in cash amd cash equivalents, and zero public debt.
Risks related to investing in the company are a competitive environment with players such as Gap Kids and Old Navy.
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