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TJX Sees Fertile Buying Market

Off-pricer's first-quarter earnings gain 8 percent.

T.J. Maxx

Despite all the talk in fashion about efficient supply chains and smartly managed inventories, off-price giant The TJX Cos. Inc. is nearly doing cartwheels over the goods available in the market.

“We see a marketplace loaded, I say loaded, with quality buying opportunities,” said Carol Meyrowitz, chief executive officer, on a conference call with analysts.

“We’re trying to control our guys, and they’re very excited,” Meyrowitz said of the company’s 800 buyers. “It’s not just weather, cold-weather categories that are sitting there, it’s really a lot of excitement and a lot across the board.…There are more goods than we can certainly handle.…I think we’re going to see the same thing throughout the rest of the year.”

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Mark Montagna, an analyst at Avondale Partners, said other chains have been cutting back, giving TJX an advantage.

“Retailers are playing their inventory even tighter than they normally do given how the beginning of the year started off so poorly,” Montagna said. “[Manufacturers] are going to still make the goods…knowing that if they don’t ship it to some other retailer they’re going to be able to ship it off to TJX instead.”

The off-pricer’s first-quarter profits rose 8 percent to $452.9 million, or 62 cents a diluted share, from $419.2 million, or 55 cents, a year earlier. Earnings met analysts’ consensus projection.

Sales for the quarter ended May 4 rose 6.8 percent to $6.19 billion from $5.8 billion. Comparable-store sales rose 2 percent on top of an 8 percent rise in last year’s first quarter.

TJX said second-quarter earnings per share would range from 61 cents to 63 cents, less than the 64 cents analysts projected.

The Framingham, Mass.-based off-pricer added 50 stores during the quarter to end with 3,100 doors.