Kids May Warm Burlington Up

In this raging bull market, retailers haven't been standouts. Even discount-chains haven't fared well. But Burlington Coat Factory (BCF), which sells off-price apparel, has revived: Shares climbed from 9 in mid-June to nearly 13. What's stimulating Burlington? Kid stuff--namely, a plan to beef up the company's Totally 4 Kids stores, which some pros expect will spark interest in all Burlington outlets.

Burlington expects to open 60 new Totally 4 Kids stores nationwide over the next couple of years. They'll be full-service shops with inexpensive but high-quality clothes, toys, and furniture for kids under 14. The new wrinkle in the next wave of outlets is mall locations--with child care nearby for parents' convenience while shopping.

The stores will be adjacent to Jumpin' Jaxx, a company that offers entertainment centers for kids. Burlington and Jumpin' Jaxx have signed an agreement for Jaxx to provide facilities at all new stores--for modest hourly fees.

Burlington, which sells a wide range of brand-name apparel, mainly outerwear, has suffered from the general retail slump and from two unusually warm winters. Analysts expect Burlington to earn 55 cents a share this year and 96 cents in 1996, vs. last year's $1.12.

This new concept "should be a big hit for Burlington," says a California money manager. She sees the stock hitting 20 in a year.