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TJX Expects Strong Momentum in Holidays as Third Quarter Ends With a Bang

FRAMINGHAM, MASS. - TJX Cos. posted double-digit increases in net sales and income during the third quarter as all of its U.S. brands saw strong traffic and ticket rates in the period.
     Net income for the 13 weeks jumped 13.7% to $462 million from $406.5 million and diluted earnings per share were up an even better 17% to $.62 versus $.53 per share last year.
     Quarterly net sales were boosted by 11% to $6.4 billion compared to $5.8 billion, and consolidated comparable store sales rose 7%.
     By segment, results for the quarter included:
     • Marmaxx: Sales up 10% to $4,161 million, and a 7% comp;
     • HomeGoods: Sales up 16% to $638 million, and a 6% comp;
     • TJX Canada: Sales up 9.0% to $769 million, and a 4% comp.
     Year to date, net income soared 30% to $1.3 billion from $1.0 billion, and diluted earnings per share came in at $1.73 compared to $1.31 in the same period last year.
     Net sales for the 39 weeks were up 10% to $18.2 billion, and comps increased 8%.
     Carol Meyrowitz, ceo, said the company's earnings per share and comp gains in the quarter "both significantly exceeded our original expectations and every division delivered excellent performance."
     She also noted customer traffic - including a growing set of younger shoppers • was up at all divisions in the U.S., Canada and Europe, driving the comparable store sales increases.
     Looking ahead, TJX Cos. has many initiatives lined up to bank on "terrific opportunities for the holiday selling season and fourth quarter."
     As Meyrowitz outlined, "we will be shipping fresh gift selections to our stores continuously throughout the holiday season; our marketing campaigns will be seen by more people; we have fantastic in-store initiatives planned; and of course, we will be offering consumers great fashions and brands at extreme values."
     Also in the pipeline for the holidays: a more aggressive gift card business; and remodeled stores offering an "upgraded shopping experience which we think will continue to lift sales," she said.
     With that in mind, TJX offered its newly revised fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2013 outlook.
     For the fourth quarter, the company expects diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $.72 to $.75, which would represent a 16% to 21% increase over $.62 per share last year. This outlook is based upon estimated consolidated comparable store sales growth of flat to 2%. This includes an expected $.07 per share benefit from the 53rd week in the company's fiscal 2013 calendar. Excluding this benefit, the adjusted guidance in the range of $.65 to $.68 represents a 5% to 10% increase over the prior year.
     For the fiscal year ending February 2, 2013, TJX Cos. is raising its guidance for diluted earnings per share by $.01. The company now expects diluted earnings per share for the full year to be in the range of $2.45 to $2.48, compared with $1.93 on a reported basis in fiscal 2012. This guidance represents a 23% to 25% increase over the prior year's adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.99 and is now based upon estimated consolidated comparable store sales growth of 5% to 6%. In addition, the company's full-year guidance includes the $.03 per share negative impact from the third quarter items discussed above.

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