TJX Cos., the Framingham company that operates such offprice retail chains as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods, today reported an 8-percent increase in December same-store sales, a metric that Wall Street analysts watch closely as a measure of a retailer’s performance.
That rise “significantly exceeded” company expectations and came despite unseasonably warm weather that cut demand for winter clothing.
TJX also updated its earnings outlook and announced a two-for-one stock split.
During a tough economic period when many consumers are struggling, preliminary evidence suggests that holiday shoppers were intent on discounts and bargains. When stores slashed prices, consumers tended to open their wallets, but shoppers were inclined to steer clear of anything that didn’t strike them as a good deal.
TJX’s focus on selling branded merchandise at a discount seemed to play well in these penny-pinching times.
“We believe that value remains critically important to consumers, and that our great values, brands, and gift-giving selections drove large increases in customer traffic during the month,” TJX chief executive Carol Meyrowitz said in a statement. “Further, we made a strategic decision to price aggressively in order to reinforce our value position in a very promotional retail environment and to clear cold weather apparel in this unseasonably warm winter.”
With its aggressive stance on pricing and clearance of cold weather apparel in December, the company said it continues to expect fourth quarter earnings per share to be in the range of $1.19 to $1.23.
“While this guidance remains unchanged, it now includes an estimated $.03 per share negative impact from several items that impact the comparability of results and were not anticipated in the company’s original guidance provided on Nov. 15, 2011,” the company said in a press release. “These items include costs related to closing the company’s StyleSense stores in Canada, an early retirement program at the company’s home office, the closure of an office facility in Europe, and a separation agreement.”