TJX Cos. Inc. is looking at a much bigger off-price footprint.
President and chief executive officer Ernie Herrman outlined the company’s future growth drivers to Wall Street Tuesday, telling investors that the 3,675-door retailer could grow that brick-and-mortar base by more than 50 percent to 5,600 doors.
The company, which just reported a 7 percent gain in second-quarter sales and better-than-expected profits (although its outlook for the year failed to meet Wall Street’s expectations), is looking to grow sales from $30.9 billion last year to over $40 billion, though it hasn’t made clear a time frame on that milestone.
The new stores laid out by Herrman would include nearly 1,400 more North American locations and another 500 doors in Europe and Australia combined.
“This reflects the opportunity we see with just our current chains and just our current markets alone and that’s before contemplating the potential to expand into new countries or open new chains in existing markets,” Herrman said.
The ceo is also looking to drive growth by increasing customer traffic and comparable-store sales and through new ideas, which he said are regularly being tested throughout the company.
“We are convinced we are attracting new customers, driving more frequent visits to our stores and gaining market share,” he said.
TJX gets its goods from other retailers looking to clear inventory and bring in fresh merchandise as well as directly from vendors, which see the retailer as a key buyer.
Herrman noted that the company has more than 1,000 people “seeking the first best merchandise from the universe of more than 18,000 vendors in other 100 countries.”
Stifel analyst Richard Jaffe said the wind remains at TJX’s back.
“In the current macroeconomic environment, we believe the consumer continues to turn to off price for her shopping needs attracted to the channel’s value priced, trend-right merchandise,” Jaffe said. “Additionally, the company’s improved marketing campaign, growing loyalty program and store remodels are successfully driving comps and traffic in our opinion.”
He also said noted the off-pricer’s business model “sufficiently insulates TJX from Amazon” — a trick that brands across the retail spectrum are trying to pull off.
For now, the off-pricer certainly seems to be holding more than its own in a world where department stores, including Macy’s Inc., are trimming back their store bases in an effort to concentrate operations and grow more profitable.
TJX’s second-quarter net income rose 2.3 percent to $562.2 million, or 84 cents a diluted share, from $549.3 million, or 80 cents, a year earlier. Sales for the three months ended July 30 rose 7 percent to $7.88 billion from $7.36 billion as comparable-store sales rose 4 percent.
Both the bottom and top lines topped expectations, as Wall Street was looking for a slight decline in net profits, to $537.1 million, and a slower 6.5 percent gain in sales.
Scott Goldenberg, chief financial officer and executive vice president, said the company’s international comps were up 2 percent — marking a slowdown from a year earlier, when comps expanded by 5 percent.
“While sales in the U.K. were slightly lower than we planned, our trends leading up to the Brexit vote were very strong,” he said. “In addition, we were pleased to perform much better than many major retailers in the U.K. as the Brexit vote weighed on consumers there. We believe we are gaining significant market share in this environment.”
For the full year, TJX raised its comp sales to an increased 3 percent to 4 percent and set earnings per share in the $3.39 to $3.43 range. TJX had previously been looking for comp growth of 2 percent to 3 percent and EPS of $3.35 to $3.42.