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TJX Shutters A.J. Wright Division

Off-pricer to layoff 4,400 workers.

The TJX Cos. Inc. is abandoning the A.J. Wright nameplate and cutting 4,400 workers in an effort to accelerate growth at the T.J. Maxx and Marshalls off-price apparel chains.

 

Seventy-one A.J. Wright stores will be shuttered while the chain’s other 91 doors will be converted to the firm’s T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or HomeGoods nameplates.

 

Two distribution centers and the chain’s Framingham, Mass., headquarters will also go dark.

 

Launched in 1998, A.J. Wright specialized in off-price basics for the home and family.

 

“A critical factor in this decision is that, over the past two years, we have learned how to serve the A.J. Wright customer with our T.J. Maxx and Marshalls banners and have seen very strong performance from these stores in demographic markets similar to those in which we have A.J. Wright stores,” said Carol Meyrowitz, president and chief executive officer. “We believe these markets represent an incremental growth opportunity for our Marmaxx division and that this business now has the potential for 2,300-2,400 stores, 300-400 more than we had previously estimated.”

 

The Marmaxx division includes T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.

 

A.J. Wright’s 162 stores will close sometime between late January and mid-February and those doors that are being converted will reopen about two months later. Almost half of jobs that are being cut are part-time positions.

 

Total pre-tax costs related to the closures are expected to range from $250 million to $280 million, reducing income by $150 million to $170 million.

 

Part of that will hurt results this quarter. The company said the consolidation would trim 27 to 30 cents a share from fourth-quarter profits, which are now slated to range from 62 to 64 cents.