Shares of The TJX Cos. Inc. dropped 7.6 percent after the company posted first-quarter profits that were below Wall Street’s expectations and estimated full-year earnings per share 2 cents below analysts’ estimate.

This story first appeared in the May 21, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The company said for the three months ended May 3, net income inched up 0.3 percent to $454.3 million, or 64 cents a diluted share, from $452.9 million, or 62 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Net sales rose 4.9 percent to $6.49 billion from $6.19 billion. The company said consolidated comparable-store sales rose 1 percent in the quarter. Analysts were expecting EPS of 67 cents on net sales of $6.6 billion.

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Carol Meyrowitz, chief executive officer, said during a conference call with Wall Street analysts, “While sales were not as strong as we would have liked, predominantly in our apparel business, I was very pleased that overall business trends improved as the quarter progressed.”

The ceo said the company is expanding its credit card loyalty program to include a non-credit card choice, which she described as a great way to invite “even more customers to join our loyalty program and have plans to rollout this option nationwide in the U.S. in the second quarter.”

For the second quarter, the company is projecting diluted EPS at between 70 cents and 74 cents on a consolidated sales range of $6.8 billion to $6.9 billion and a comp-store sales gain of 2 percent to 3 percent. For the full year, EPS is expected at $3.05 to $3.17, on a consolidated comp-store sales gain of 1 percent to 2 percent. Wall Street was expecting $3.19 for the year.

Shares closed at $53.95 Tuesday in trading on the Big Board.

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