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Soft Home Rebounds at TJX

HomeGoods, the 270-store division of TJX Companies, saw first-quarter profits rise nearly 20% — and soft home helped lead the way, TJX president and ceo Carol Meyrowitz told analysts last week.

"Soft home was up about 5%" in the HomeGoods unit, Meyrowitz said, noting, "We are beginning to see top of bed and the sheet business turn around." She added that the chain's towel wall also is performing well. HomeGoods, with quarterly sales of $333.2 million, saw profit up 19.6% to $10.2 million. Comps were up 3%, besting the companywide rate of 2%.

Meyrowitz said the HomeGoods Kids initiative, now in 200 stores, is a growing success, and noted that the "Now You Can" ad campaign is showing results.

TJX reported a quarterly sales increase of 6% to $4.1 billion, but income of $162 million was off 1% from the prior-year quarter. For the full year, the company projects earnings from continuing operations (excluding any "computer intrusion" costs) of $1.80 to $1.85: a 10% to 13% increase year-to-year.

Meyrowitz intimated that the uncertain economic climate is not necessarily a bad thing for the 2,500-store off-price leader, and as is customary for TJX executives, she lauded her buying staff for its opportunistic flair. Noting that the chain's success is built on "intelligent risk-taking" for a merchandise mix that ends up "exciting our customers," Meyrowitz stated, "It's not just raining — but it's pouring merchandising opportunities."

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