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Home turns, turns, turns in every season at TJX

The decorative side of the business is what drives TJX's home business, president and ceo Ted English said last week following the company's annual meeting.

"We treat home unlike any other retailer," by concentrating on fashion and not commodity items, he explained. "Home turns eight times a year, which is unheard of in the industry."

Rugs, lamps and accent furniture are among the strongest businesses in the segment, English said.

No categories were changing of note, he added, saying that it "ebbs and flows through opportunities in the market." The company also sources a small percentage of goods internationally.

English also said that the new Winners 'n More concept in Markham, Ontario — similar to the Marmaxx superstores, and which combines its Winners and HomeSense formats in a 50,000-square-foot unit — had a very successful opening when it debuted last March. "It achieved a similar opening to our store in Toronto , which had the single biggest opening in the history of the [division]," he said.

The Winners division outperformed sales and profit targets for fiscal 2002, and will see the addition of 13 more Winners units this year. HomeSense will add eight.

TJX sees its store base growing to as many as 4,330 units across all divisions to be realized over the next eight to 14 years. HomeGoods and A.J. Wright — both strong performers — will take longer to achieve their goals of 650 and 1,000-plus stores, respectively, because they are newer chains. Marmaxx, which totaled 1,342 units at the end of 2002, will add 79 units this year.

The HomeGoods segment has "far exceeded our expectations," he said during the annual meeting, and with sales of $705 million in fiscal 2002, a 39 percent increase, it's made "substantial progress." The division will open 37 new stores this year — a 26 percent increase in the store base — in both freestanding and superstore formats.

A.J. Wright also had an exceptional year last year, with a 76 percent increase of sales, for a total of $277 million. The chain's first generation of stores is still performing at or above where they have to be in order for the chain to work for the company, he said.

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