"We are targeting our mall-based, brick-and-mortar portfolio to represent less than 25% of our revenue entering fiscal 2022," says CEO Jane Elfers
Children's Place store front
The Children's Place
| Credit: Shutterstock

The Children's Place is set to shutter 300 brick and mortar locations by the end of 2021 amid the ongoing coronavirus global health crisis.

The company released its 2020 first-quarter financial results on Thursday, sharing that "net sales decreased 38.1% to $255.2 million in the three months ended May 2, 2020 from $412.4 million in the three months ended May 4, 2019, primarily as a result of temporary store closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic."

As a result, "We are now targeting to close an additional 300 stores by the end of fiscal 2021, with 200 closures planned for this year, and 100 closures planned for 2021," says Children's Place President and CEO Jane Elfers in the release.

"This initiative will greatly reduce our reliance on our brick and mortar channel and we are targeting our mall-based, brick and mortar portfolio to represent less than 25% of our revenue entering fiscal 2022," she adds of the children's apparel and accessories retailer, founded in 1969.

Elfers goes on to say that the company has been focused on "Superior Product, Digital Transformation and Fleet Optimization," which has allowed The Children's Place "to operate at a high level during the current crisis, with the ability to fulfill our outsized online demand through our advanced omni-channel capabilities."

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Children's Place
The Children's Place
| Credit: Shutterstock

According to Elfers, the company has a positive outlook moving forward in their online market, in that they "believe that our strong digital foundation, coupled with the rapidly changing shopping patterns of our consumer, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our strong value proposition and our core, digital-savvy, millennial customer, will result in the continued acceleration of our digital revenue."

"Our Fleet Optimization initiative has been a decade-long strategic focus that has resulted in optimum flexibility in our lease terms, enabling us to significantly accelerate store closures without financial penalty," she explains.

"The challenges that lie ahead are many, and visibility is limited, but we are moving forward with urgency and focus, guided by the strategic pillars of our long-standing transformation strategy," Elfers says in conclusion. "We believe that our superior product, coupled with our unique ability, at this critical juncture, to significantly grow digital revenue, while meaningfully reducing our reliance on our store portfolio, will result in consolidated market share gains for years to come."

RELATED VIDEO: Troubled Toys "R" Us to Begin Closing 180 Stores Nationwide

The Children's Place is the latest kids'-focused retailer to close stores, after Toys "R" Us shut down all its physical locations after more than 70 years in business. The beloved store later popped back up in select locations during the 2019 holiday season, and planned to relaunch 10 stores across the country this year.

In January 2019, Gymboree filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reported CBS News, with plans to begin closing its 540 U.S. and Canadian stores and outlets. Janie and Jack, a Gymboree brand, was set to continue its brick and mortar businesses.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Chuck E. Cheese was in danger of never reopening after shutting its doors amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. According to WSJ, the brand behind the kids' restaurant/entertainment venue, CEC Entertainment, is nearly $1 billion in debt and trying to approach lenders for a $200 million loan to keep the business afloat.

CEC Entertainment announced it would be offering its top executives retention bonuses with the hopes that they would stay on in trying times. The brand specifically said it would pay nearly $3 million total to three executives, including $1.3 million to CEO David McKillips, the Securities and Exchange Commission filing showed.