TJX t.j. maxx, marshalls

The TJX Cos. Inc. managed to eke out growth in the first quarter but a slow start to the year left it falling behind last year’s results.

The off-price retailer tallied a 3 percent increase in net sales for the quarter, hitting $7.8 billion, compared to a year-ago increase of 10 percent, while consolidated comparable-store sales increased 1 percent, compared to last year’s 7 percent growth.

Meanwhile, diluted earnings per share outstripped last year, coming in at $0.82, compared to $0.76.

As he did for 2016, chief executive officer and TJX president Ernie Herrman attributed the positive results to steady customer traffic, adding that sales trends only picked up in the latter part of the quarter.

“With our disciplined inventory management, our merchandise margin was up, which speaks to the resiliency and flexibility of our off-price retail model,” Herrman said.

During the first quarter TJX added 50 storefronts, bringing its total store count to 3,862 worldwide and increased its square footage by 4 percent.

As for the year going forward, Herrman said he’s “confident” that the company is gaining market share in each of its divisions.

“The second quarter is off to a solid start and we have excellent liquidity in our inventories. This positions us extremely well to capitalize on the plentiful buying opportunities we see for exciting fashions and brands in the marketplace and bring them to consumers at amazing values. As always, we will strive to surpass our goals and we have great confidence in the continued, successful growth of TJX.”

For More, See:

Retail’s Safe Haven: TJX and Off-price

Sears’ Lampert Takes Aim at Opportunistic Vendors

Report: Gap, Coach and Others Need to Close 2,600 More Stores

Rue21 Files for Chapter 11