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Off-price retailer TJX Cos. posted an 8 percent jump in third-quarter earnings on Tuesday and raised fourth-quarter guidance.

For the three months ended Oct. 27, earnings reached $249.5 million, or 54 cents a diluted share, from $230.6 million, or 48 cents, in the year-ago period. Sales for the quarter climbed 6 percent to $4.74 billion from $4.47 billion last year. Total same-store sales grew 3 percent.

For the nine-month period earnings fell 12 percent to $470.6 million, or $1 a diluted share, from $532.6 million, or $1.12, in last year’s period. Sales increased 7 percent to $13.16 billion from $12.31 billion.

“While sales were slightly below plan, we believe this was mostly due to unseasonably warm weather through the majority of September and October,” said Carol Meyrowitz, president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Importantly, as the weather cooled toward the end of the quarter, we saw a strong surge in sales and demand for cold weather apparel.”

TJX said it will enter the fourth quarter with very clean inventories and significantly more liquidity than last year. This puts the company in an ideal position to take advantage of increased buying opportunities in the market.

The company raised fourth-quarter guidance to 58 cents to 60 cents a diluted share, due to favorable foreign exchange rates. Full-year earnings are expected to be in the range of $1.58 to $1.60 a diluted share.

This story first appeared in the November 14, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.