TJX Cos. ended 2017 on a strong note.
The off-price retailer saw net sales for the year ended Feb. 3 grow 8 percent to $35.9 billion, while net income increased 15 percent to $2.6 billion, equal to earnings of $4.04 per share. Consolidated comparable-store sales also increased 2 percent for the year, despite dipping for the first time in nearly a decade during the third quarter.
Comparable sales in the fourth quarter helped offset that decline, increasing 4 percent, allowing TJX to tout 22 consecutive years of comp growth. Net sales for the quarter grew 16 percent to $11 billion and net income grew 22 percent to $877 million, equal to $1.37 per share.
Wall Street was pleased with the results and sent TJX’s stock price up 6.8 percent to $82.59 in trading on Wednesday.
Ernie Herrman, president and chief executive officer of TJX, admitted that comp sales exceeded the company’s expectations and noted that “traffic was up overall” in all of the company’s divisions, making it the “primary driver” of the comp growth.
“Looking ahead, 2018 is off to a solid start,” Herrman said. “We see abundant opportunities in the marketplace for major brands and high-quality merchandise and are pursuing numerous initiatives to keep driving sales and customer traffic.”
Specifically, TJX is projecting consolidated comp-sales growth of 1 to 2 percent and earnings to grow 17 to 20 percent to between $4.73 and $4.83.
Part of the earnings increase will be due to savings stemming from the Trump administration’s tax reform bill, which pushed corporate tax rates down to a base of 21 percent, the lowest rates in history. The bill also added a number of benefits for corporations and wealthy individuals, like removing any penalty for moving funds held abroad back to the U.S. TJX is taking advantage of this element planning to “repatriate” more than $1 billion in profits it’s holding in its Canada division. The company did not specify how much it was expecting to save through tax reform, but Herrman said it would be “significant.”
TJX is attempting to share some of the benefit by offering an unspecified onetime bonus to eligible employees, instituting parental paid leave in the U.S. and “enhancing” vacation benefits in the U.S. TJX is planning to use a “substantial” part of its tax savings to increase its quarterly dividend and repurchase up to $3 billion in stock this year.
Walmart Stores Inc. made a similar attempt to position tax reform as cause for its decision in January to raise its minimum wage, despite having made several incremental increases since 2015.
Tax reform, unsurprisingly lauded by corporations, is set to add $1.51 trillion to the $666 billion federal deficit, with about $1 trillion stemming from business tax cuts, according to the Committee for a Responsible Budget, a nonpartisan group. The tax cuts, too, (especially for individuals as they are only temporary), are expected to be largely offset by the elimination or reduction of previous write-offs, like mortgage costs and state tax amounts.
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