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Carter's Gains From Robust Strategies Amid Inflation Woes

Carter's, Inc. (NYSE: CRI) has been capitalizing on its pricing strategy, efficient inventory management and enhanced product offerings. It has also witnessed benefits from favorable ocean freight rates, lower inventory levels and decreased distribution and freight costs, all of which have been positively impacting margins and bottom-line growth. CRI observed significant improvement in wholesale segment demand trends in the first quarter of 2024. This improvement is attributed to leaner inventories among wholesale customers. However, the ongoing unfavorable impact of inflation on Carter's top line and the subsequent reduction in consumer spending cannot be ignored.    Factors Contributing Growth Carter's has experienced a considerable expansion in margin rates, with lower ocean freight rates and reduced product costs being the primary drivers. These factors contributed to a gross margin expansion of 310 bps in the first quarter, with lower inventory levels also contributing positively to the gross margin. This underscores its commitment toward efficient cost management and operational improvements. The company's U.S Wholesale business marked a notable increase in its results, mainly backed by lower product and transportation partially offset by selective price investments. Also, sales of this segment grew by 5.7% year over year. Management envisions sales in the U.S. wholesale business in low single digits for 2024. CRI appears well poised to benefit from its pricing efforts, which are addressing adverse market conditions and enhancing profitability. It is strategically focused on essential core products, ...