TJX 3Q profit rises 32 pct as shoppers seek deals

AP News
Posted: Nov 17, 2009 2:13 PM

TJX Cos. Inc. says its fiscal third-quarter profit rose 32 percent as shoppers looked for bargains at the discount retailer's chains.

The company, which operates stores including T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, boosted its outlook for the fourth quarter and full year as traffic heading to its stores accelerated.

Carol Meyrowitz, president and CEO of TJX, told investors during a conference call that while the company usually does well when the economy slows, "this is the first time we're seeing an acceleration during a recession."

"This presents a huge opportunity for us to capture a piece of the increased consumer spending when the economy improves," she added. She said November is off to a strong start.

Still, shares of TJX fell almost 3 percent, or $1.13, in afternoon trading, after the company offered a conservative holiday outlook.

The company earned $347.8 million, or 81 cents per share, in the three-month period that ended Oct. 31. That compares with $235.8 million, or 58 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $5.24 billion from $4.76 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn 80 cents per share on revenue of $5.25 billion.

Sales at stores open at least a year, considered a key barometer of a retailer's health, rose 7 percent.

"We are pleased to see the strong momentum in our business continue despite the challenging economic environment," Meyrowitz said in a statement. She said TJX did well both domestically and internationally.

TJX now expects sales at its stores open at least a year to rise 5 percent to 7 percent for the fourth quarter, and it expects to earn between 65 cents and 71 cents per share for the period.

Analysts forecast fourth-quarter profit of 71 cents per share and full-year earnings of $2.59 per share, while the company now forecasts full-year profit of $2.55 to $2.61 per share, based on an expectation that its sales at stores open at least a year will rise 5 percent.

In October, TJX had said it expected to earn 60 cents to 66 cents per share in the fourth quarter and $2.46 to $2.54 per share for the year.