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TJX Pushes HomeGoods

Although the HomeGoods chain had a difficult 2004, the nameplate has developed enough cachet that TJX will more aggressively co-brand side-by-side T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods locations, which have separate entrances but a shared interior.

Last year, the division scored a miss on the spring/summer season and brought in a disproportionate amount of higher priced merchandise compared with moderate merchandise, TJX Cos. President and CEO Edmond English said during the company's annual shareholder meeting last week.

“We got off balance and didn't catch up until December,” he said.

Although the 216-store chain hit the $1 billion mark for sales, English said the performance was “substantially” below expectations. Still, TJX sees the potential to open up to 650 HomeGoods units in the U.S. market. Forty new locations are slated this year, including 21 superstores — overscaled T.J. Maxx units with a 21,000-square-foot HomeGoods area inside.

Co-branded T.J. Maxx/HomeGoods locations now number 15, and the company is refitting its existing superstores with the new co-branding, English said.

In its Canadian operation, the company has also been opening dual-branded Winners and HomeSense stores. And in the United Kingdom, T.K. Maxx has opened its first stand-along home store.

Early indications on the HomeGoods e-commerce site launched last fall are encouraging, English said. “It's receiving very high ratings from the monitoring agencies,” he said, adding that because the nameplate currently is located in only 20 states, it does not yet have the national brand presence enjoyed by the T.J. Maxx name.

The T.J. Maxx e-commerce site, which also launched last fall, is driving more business at the store level, English said.

“Early indications among T.J.Maxx customers online confirm they're shopping us more often at the stores and increasing their spending,” he said.

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