The Children’s Place is opening and closing stores in 2019.
As part of a multiyear plan to close 300 stores by 2020, the New Jersey-based retailer announced this week it plans on closing another 40 to 45 stores in 2019.
But at the same time, the company is looking to grow and fill the void left by former rival Gymboree. The Children’s Place purchased the rights to the Gymboree and Crazy 8 brands for $76 million.
“As a result of Gymboree’s bankruptcy, we plan to open 25 stores in highly productive centers over the next two years, where the Children’s Place does not have a presence,” said Mike Scarpa, the company’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer, during a quarterly earnings call with analyst Wednesday.
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The plan is to open around 10 of the 25 new stores in 2019, Scarpa said.
The Children’s Place also is gearing up to re-launch the Gymboree brand products in early 2020, said Jane Elfers, president and CEO, which will be available online and in a “carefully selected group of 200-plus” store locations.
“Our team is focused on bringing back the highly curated, elevated, bow-to-toe product that the Gymboree customer loved prior to their merchandising changes,” Elfers said.
The Children’s Place has 971 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, as of early May. Since 2013, the company has closed 213 stores, Scarpa said.
Elfers said the company “has been strategically ahead of the curve” and the multiyear strategy “strongly positions us to capture the benefits of meaningful market share redistribution.”
“We’ve dramatically slowed down openings, accelerated store closures in low quality centers, and significantly shorten lease term to allow for maximum flexibility within the portfolio,” Elfers said.
Elfers spoke of the “marked increase in retail bankruptcies and store closures,” with more store closings announced in 2019 than for all of 2018. She said more could be coming.
“As the digital disruption continues, we expect to see more bankruptcies and store closures from retailers that are unwilling for incapable of investing in digital initiatives,” she said.
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