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TJX Net Drops in Qtr. On Onetime Charge

TJX Cos. had a 25.9 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit, hurt by big promotions at several off-price units and a $19.3 million one-time charge.

NEW YORK — The TJX Cos. reported a 25.9 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit, hurt by big promotions at several of its off-price units and a $19.3 million one-time charge related to a lease accounting change.

In full-year 2004, TJX earned $664.1 million, or $1.30 a share, compared with $658.4  million, or $1.25, in 2003. Sales were $14.91 billion, up 11.9 percent, while consolidated same-store sales increased 5 percent.

Framingham, Mass.-based TJX said during the 13 weeks ending Jan. 29 it earned $176.9 million, or 35 cents a share, versus $238.7 million, or 46 cents, in the comparable quarter last year. Results in the latest quarter included the $19.3 million aftertax charge, equaling 4 cents a share, relating to the timing of rent expense for new stores.

On a pro forma basis, which excludes the one-time charge and a positive impact from the conversion of convertible debt totaling 1 cent, TJX would have earned $196.2 million, or 40 cents, beating Wall Street analysts’ earnings-per-share expectations by a penny.

Revenues in the quarter rose to $4.33 billion, up 5.4 percent, from $4.11 billion a year ago, while consolidated same-store sales gained 4 percent.

By division, sales at the Marmaxx Group, which is made up of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores, inched up 0.2 percent to $2.95 billion, and in the U.K. and Ireland, TJX’s T.K. Maxx unit reported sales rose 18.9 percent to $429.9 million.

Edmond English, president and chief executive officer of TJX, said in a statement Wednesday that the strength of the Marmaxx Group — particularly in women’s sportswear, and the successful expansion of jewelry and accessories at T.J. Maxx — led the company’s full-year results. He said the company views the Marmaxx Group as a “key growth vehicle for TJX.”

The company said in a conference call that it expects annual 2005 sales to rise 10 to 11 percent with EPS in the range of $1.49 to $1.57 compared with analysts’ consensus for $1.37. In the first quarter, TJX expects a profit of 32 to 34 cents compared with the consensus of 39 cents.