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Pumpkin Patch to buy back about 5% of stock

Monday 24th November 2008

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Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing chain whose shares have tumbled 70% this year, announced plans to buy back up to 5% of its stock saying the price doesn't reflect the underlying value of the company.

Shares of Pumpkin Patch surged 16% to 93 cents, having touched a record low 79 cents on Friday. The retailer has appointed First NZ Capital to manage the on market buyback, which will run from November 28 to November 23, 2009.

"The buyback reflects our belief in the true underlying value of the Pumpkin Patch brand and our confidence in the company's continued financial performance into the future," chief executive Maurice Prendergast.

Like many retailers, Pumpkin Patch has lowered its expectations for profit in 2009, citing deteriorating general trading conditions. Prendergast this month said the company faces the most difficult retain conditions and most volatile markets he has seen in his 15 years as chief executive.

The company has imposed a hiring freeze and reduced head-count at its stores in addition to the head office eliminations it has announced. It also will cut costs across the business, Prendergast said, without being specific.

By Jonathan Underhill

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