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TJX Strong in 1Q

TJX Companies saw an explosion in first quarter profits, but warned the company will face tough comparisons in the second half of the year, when margins are expected to be flat.

During the quarter ended May 1, the company experienced increases in traffic. “Our research shows we are pulling customers from a wider customer demographic reach,” said Carol Meyrowitz, president and ceo. That includes moderate, middle and upper income consumers “in all age ranges,” she added.

The Home Goods division's contribution to results jumped substantially, she added. “Home Goods first quarter has just been tremendous,” said Meyrowitz.

Earnings per share for the period rose 63% to 80 cents as gross margin climbed by 250 basis points. Total sales climbed 15% to $5.0 billion, with consolidated comp up 9.0%.

At the Marmaxx division, sales rose 9.9% to $3.3 billion, with comps up 10%. Home Good's sales increased 21% to $475 million, with comps jumping 15%. A.J. Wright's sales spiked 88% to $211 million, with comps up 7%.

The Canadian division saw a 31% boost in sales to $555 million, with comps up 6%.

Comps rose 9% in the UK division and 1% in Europe.

For the second quarter, TJX is planning for earnings per share of 67 to 72 cents, an increase of 10% to 18% over last year's 2Q. For the full year, it is projecting EPS of $3.21 to $3.32, an increase of 13% to 17%.

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