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TJX taps into flexibility for added holiday sales

TJX Cos. will capitalize on last-minute Christmas shopping this year by "flowing more merchandise later in all divisions," said Ted English, president and ceo, during its third quarter conference call last week.

Bringing new merchandise into the stores later in December "really gave us some great last-minute business last year" at the MarMaxx group, which includes T.J. Maxx and Marshall's, he added. This year, all the divisions will be more aggressive with this initiative, and English expects to benefit from the extra day in the holiday selling season.

The company doesn't generally emphasize special promotions, he added. "The key and success of our business is the frequency of visits and the fact that we have great stuff everyday...We're about flowing great goods all the time." The retailer will "throw a little extra weight" into the week before Christmas, adding an additional week of marketing, he said, in addition to its typical plan, which includes television.

Carol Meyrowitz, president, the MarMaxx Group, said that her division will continue to try improving its flow for the season. Building on its gift-giving concept, it will add another event to tie in closer to Christmas to put in fresh "table and very special goods," which will allow it to replenish more goods in the month of December than a year ago.

When asked about vendors' response to the company's increased liquid open-to-buy position, English said that it's been very favorable. "Our primary service to the vendors is to take merchandise from them when they have merchandise to clear. If we have open-to-buy in season later, they can react to their needs more aggressively in season, rather than the crap shoot of a pack away later on in the year," he said.

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