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The TJX Cos. Inc. machine continued to roll on in the third quarter, although the off-price giant was still showing signs of coronavirus strain

The retailer’s net profits inched up 4.6 percent to $866.7 million, or 71 cents a share, from $828.3 million, or 68 cents, a year earlier.

Revenues for the three months ended Oct. 31 slipped 3.2 percent to $10.1 billion from $10.5 billion.

Only-open comparable-store sales, which look only at the brick-and-mortar stores that were open, fell 5 percent for the quarter with a 10 percent drop at the Marmaxx division, which includes the U.S.-based T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. 

The overall trend weakened some in the first couple weeks of the fourth quarter, slipping 7 percent. 

Ernie Herrman, chief executive officer and president, said third-quarter results “significantly exceeded our plans on both the top and bottom lines.”

“As we begin the fourth quarter, while significant uncertainty around COVID-19 remains, we are as focused as ever on bringing consumers exciting gift selections at excellent values,” Herrman said. “We plan to ship fresh assortments to our stores and online throughout the holiday selling season.

“Longer term, when we are past this health crisis, we are very confident that we will continue to gain more customers and drive the successful growth of TJX well into the future,” he said. 

For now, the company, which has 4,574 stores, is adjusting to the realities of a market unlike any others. 

Total inventories stood at $5 billion at the end of the quarter, down from $6.3 billion a year earlier. 

TJX chalked the declined up to “lower planned store inventory levels, stronger than expected third-quarter sales, and merchandise delivery delays due to continued bottlenecks in the supply chain.”

“Overall product availability in the marketplace remains excellent and the company continues to shift its buying toward the categories that have had the strongest demand since reopening,” TJX said. 

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