• Cecile Corral

TJX Testing New Home Formats

Marmaxx, HomeGoods Divisions Seek More Upside after Strong 2007

Stressing that its own execution and not the economy was to blame for soft sales in the T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores' home category during the fourth quarter, off-price retailer TJX Companies outlined plans to improve the segment — including a new store prototype now undergoing tests — during the company's earnings call.

"We expect to see home improve in the first half with more opportunity in the back half of the year," said Carol Meyrowitz, president and ceo of the 2,563-unit retailer. "We believe this is an execution issue and we are addressing it," she stressed, adding the merchandise mix was largely to blame: "We were just too mundane and too LY [last year] in our seasonal, and that hurt in the fourth quarter…We believe our own missteps were on execution, specifically in seasonal holiday product, which led to comp weakness."

Even with the disappointment in home categories in the Marmaxx (T.J. Maxx and Marshsalls) unit, TJX posted a year of solid results.

TJX 2007 net earnings of $771.8 million were up 4.6% over $738.0 million in the year prior. Sales were up 7% to $18.6 billion, while comps rose 4% in 2007.

Meyrowitz also lauded the company's HomeGoods format. "HomeGoods' solid performance in 2007 bucked the weak trends of the home industry in other retailers," she said. "The HomeGoods organization drove strong comp sales over solid comps in the previous years."

HomeGoods, currently with a store count of 289, is being considered for growth by 300 additional stores "over time," Meyrowitz noted, and potentially for a larger, 40,000-square-foot box, currently being tested.

Overall, she concluded, the company envisions the potential to grow by an additional 1,500 to 2,000 stores within its current markets.

The TJX Companies, Inc.

Qtr. 1/26 ($millions) 2007 2006 % change
(loss)
a.Results include after-tax charges of $119 million, or $.25 per share, in fiscal 2008 and $3 million (which did not change full-year earnings per share) in fiscal 2007 related to the previously reported unauthorized computer intrusions. Excluding these charges, adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations for fiscal 2008 were $1.91, a 17% increase over $1.63 for the prior year.
Sales $5,488.2 $5,096.8 8.0%
Oper. Income (EBIT) 486.6 380.0 28.0
Net income 301.1 205.5 46.5
Per share (diluted) 0.66 0.51 29.4
Average gross margin 24.4% 23.0%
SG&A expenses 16.0% 15.5%
Full year
Sales $18,647.1 $17,404.6 7.0%
Oper. Income (EBIT) 1,242.7 1,246.8 0.0
Net income 771.8 738.0 4.6
Per share (diluted) 1.66a 1.63a 1.8
Average gross margin 24.5% 24.1%
SG&A expenses 16.8% 16.8%


Cecile CorralCecile Corral | Senior Product Editor, Home & Textiles Today
ccorral@homeandtextilestoday.com

Cecile B. Corral has been a product editor with Home Textiles Today since late 2000. She covers the area and accent rug, kitchen textiles, table linens, beach towels, decorative bath and decorative pillow categories, as well as some retail subjects.

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