For specialty retailers Chico’s FAS Inc. and Zale Corp, the holiday quarter was characterized by solid sales growth and increasing profits. But at discount rival The TJX Cos. Inc., fourth-quarter profit was weighed down by costs to shutter its A.J. Wright division.


TJX said Wednesday that it recorded a 15.3 percent drop in fourth-quarter net income to $334.4 million, or 84 cents a diluted share, versus year-ago profit of $395 million, or 94 cents a share. Excluding costs, EPS totaled $1.05, which outpaced analysts’ estimates of $1.02 a share.
Net sales increased 6.6 percent to $6.33 billion, from $5.94 billion, in the previous year.


Meanwhile, midtier jeweler Zale reported a jump in net income for its second quarter to $27.2 million, or 73 cents a diluted share, compared with $6.7 million, or 21 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 7.6 percent to $626.4 million, from $582.3 million. Analysts anticipated EPS of $1.27 a share, on sales of $624.2 million.


Helped by holiday discounting, women’s apparel retailer Chico’s reported an 18.2 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit, to $20.7 million, or 12 cents a diluted share, versus income of $17.5 million, or 10 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Net sales improved 9 percent to $475 million, from $435.7 million. Wall Street predicted 13 cents on sales of $473.3 million.


For complete coverage, see Thursday’s WWD.

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