The Children’s Place
The Children’s Place is an American specialty retailer of children’s clothing and accessories. The Company currently operates 311 stores across the United States.
The Children’s Place was founded in 1969 by David Pulver and Clinton Clark, both 1965 graduates of the Harvard School of Business. The two men agreed they didn’t want to work for someone else so, after much consideration, the two men (both of them fathers) opened The Children’s Place in Hartford, Connecticut.
It was a tough start, as the two founders adjusted their product mix to make it attractive to their customers. They finally settled on mid-priced children’s sportswear and some name-brand kids’ clothing.
By the time they celebrated their 10th anniversary, The Children’s Place had grown into a chain of 34 stores, with revenues close to 50 percent annually and profits up by a third.
Today, The Children’s Place has 311 stores in the United States.
In 1981, The Children’s Place founders sold the chain to Federated Department Stores. Pulver and Clark stayed on to train replacements and left the company shortly thereafter. Now, publicly owned, about one-third of the company’s stock belonged to CEO Ezra Dabah and his family. In 1988 The Children’s Place was sold to a group led by Joseph Stitt.
Dabah believed that children’s apparel was on the verge of a big boom. He opened two new prototype stores that were bright and cheerful, with open floor plans; playful floral wallpaper and colorful posters; a toddler play area; accessible fitting rooms; and video monitors. He closed unprofitable stores, reduced the layers of management, and carefully reviewed the merchandise mix. Dabah gave the stores an upscale image with 90 percent of the clothing branded with top names like Gloria Vanderbilt, Bugle Boy, OshKosh, and Gitano.
By the end of 1989, Dabah’s plans had reduced expenses and inventory was turning over at a much higher rate.
A Changing Business
By 1997, Dabah changed directions and began selling lower-priced children’s clothing under the store’s own brand name, Children’s Place. Vying for their place in the market against bigger stores like J.C. Penney and Sears, The Children’s Place sold its clothing at 20 to 30 percent below its competitors. By this time, the company had grown to 130 stores with sales of $122 million resulting in a $1.65 million profit. By then the company had a net income of over $30 million on sales of approximately $144 million.
The Disney Connection
From 2004 to 2007, the company owned and
operated 335 Disney Stores.
In January 2010, former Lord & Taylor CEO Jane T. Elfers was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Place.
Most of The Children’s Place stores are located in or near big shopping malls, with others located in strip malls and street stores. While most of their tores are fairly small, there are a few big-box format locations. The Children’s Place stores cater to boys and girls from infants to teens.
The company ended the first quarter of 2019 with a total of 971 stores located in the United States, Canada and Peurto Rico.
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