TJX Q3 Profit Rises 15% Despite Chill in Sales

Framingham, MA—While TJX Cos. said warmer-than-usual temperatures may have chilled sales in its third quarter, the off price operator of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls reported Tuesday a 15% profit increase.

For the quarter ended Oct. 29, the company reported net income of $406.49 million, or $1.06 a share, up from $372.31 million or 92 cents a share in the prior-year quarter. The results include a positive foreign currency exchange rate of 3 cents a share.

Total net sales increased 5% to $5.79 billion from $5.53 billion in the same quarter last year. Total comparable store sales increased 3% increase in comparable store sales and improved margins.

Although the company’s net earnings were in line with analysts’ average estimate expecting $1.06 a share, TJX missed their estimate for sales of $5.85 billion.

‘Unseasonably Warm Weather’ Hindered Sales

“We achieved these strong results despite unseasonably warm weather during the quarter in many key regions of the U.S. and Canada, which hindered demand for fall apparel,” said Carol Meyrowitz, ceo. “We are also encouraged by the progress we are making at TJX Europe. Further, it’s important to note that sales in the U.S. picked up when the weather turned cooler and we ended the quarter strongly.”

By division, Marmaxx (Marshalls, T.J. Maxx) sales rose to $3.79 billion from $3.50 billion with comparable store sales rising 4%. Sales at HomeGoods totaled $551 million, up from last year’s $480 million. HomeGoods posted a 5% increase in comparable store sales.

Total sales in Canada increased to $705 million from $667 million, while comparable store sales decreased 2%. European sales totaled $747 million, higher than $672 million in the year-ago quarter. Comparable store sales were flat with last year on a constant currency basis.

Gross profit margin expanded 60 basis points to 28.1%, reflecting buying and occupancy leverage. Meanwhile, selling, general and administrative costs as a percent of sales were unchanged at 16.5%.

TJX is bullish about its fourth quarter, too. The company raised its earnings estimate to $1.19 to $1.23 a share, with comparable store sales now estimated to grow 2% to 3%, up from a prior forecast of 1% to 2%. Analysts’ average estimate expects the earnings of $1.23 a share.

“Although it’s still early, November is off to a strong start,” Meyrowitz added. “We are excited about our opportunities for the holiday selling season and the fourth quarter: our inventory position allows us to buy into current trends and ship fresh gift assortments continuously throughout the season. We are ready with great gift initiatives; our marketing campaigns will be seen by more people than ever before.”

For its fiscal 2012, the company projects earnings in the range of $3.93 to $3.97 a share, an increase from its previous forecast of $3.89 to $3.97 a share. Comparable store sales are expected to show a 3% growth compared with an earlier estimate of 2% to 3%. Analysts’ average estimate expects full year earnings of $3.97 a share.

 

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