TJ Maxx owner’s sales soar on new customers looking for deals

Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 1:49 PM

TJX Cos., with its treasure-hunt shopping experience and discount prices, is proving as popular as ever with consumers – even if rising incomes mean they don’t need a deal.

Comparable sales at the company, which owns the Marshalls and TJ Maxx chains, rose 6 percent in the second quarter, three times more than analysts’ estimates. That sent the stock up the most in almost six months on Tuesday.

There’s evidence that consumers are staying loyal to TJX-owned retailers, even as their incomes rise, according to Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. With the U.S. economy growing and unemployment low, investors are keying in to see which retailers are taking advantage of the favorable environment.

“Our data show no erosion of shoppers migrating elsewhere as their economic circumstances improve,” Saunders said in an email. “Indeed, if anything, the boost to consumer incomes over the first half of the year has encouraged existing shoppers to visit more often and spend more per visit, especially on apparel.”

TJX’s success stands in stark contrast with other retailers, which have suffered from shoppers’ migration to e-commerce and away from the shopping mall. TJX, which hasn’t posted a drop in comparable-store sales since 2009, has been able to lure consumers to its stores with a discount model that’s proving to be resilient.

Shares of the company, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, had already risen 33 percent this year through Monday’s close and have been trading at all-time highs. The stock gained as much as 5.5 percent to $107.26 on Tuesday.

TJX joins Nordstrom as one of the second quarter’s retail winners, while Kohl’s Corp., Macy’s Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. saw shares decline after earnings.

The company raised its full-year guidance. It now expects adjusted earnings per share in the range of $4.10 to $4.14, up from a previous forecast of as much as $4.10 a share.

“We have been attracting new customers to all our divisions, a significant share of whom are younger customers,” Chief Executive Officer Ernie Herrman said in a statement.

The company’s Marmaxx division, which includes TJ Maxx and Marshalls, was the standout, with comparable-store sales growing 7 percent, compared to the estimate of 2.1 percent. Revenue of $9.3 billion was higher than the $9 billion projected by analysts.