lowered its fourth-quarter and fiscal 2000 earnings forecast, amid a lower-than-expected sales performance in December and a one-time charge in the quarter.
The Secaucus, N.J., retailer of children's clothing and accessories said it now expects fourth-quarter earnings of 55 cents to 60 cents a share, including a charge of about 4 cents a share. Eight analysts polled by
First Call/Thomson Financial
produced a consensus estimate of 69 cents a share for the quarter, compared with 51 cents a share in the same period last year.
The company also said it sees 2001 earnings of $1.59 to $1.64 a share, up from $1.32 a share last year. Analysts on average expected $1.73 a share.
Children's Place said same-store sales in December fell 6%, compared with a 9% increase last year. Total sales for the five-week period grew 20% to $87.2 million from $72.6 million a year ago.
Separately, the company said it plans to temporarily discontinue its online store, which represents 1% of its overall business. Children's Place also said it plans to relaunch the site in April.
The company's shares lately tumbled $1.44, or 7.4%, to $18 in afternoon trading on the