The Next Big Thing?

Home GoodsHome Goods
FRAMINGHAM, MASS. - Even in a strong first quarter for TJX Cos., the 426-unit HomeGoods chain was a standout. Already the 16th largest retailer of home textiles in the United States, it could jump into the top 10 as its parent company plans to nearly double the nameplate's store count.
     "I'll just say it: HomeGoods is on fire," said TJX ceo Carol Meyrowitz during the off-price chain's earnings call last week. "Their mix is spectacular. Even when the weather turned, HomeGoods was strong. We are absolutely thrilled with this business."
     When asked if any specific home areas were especially strong, Meyrowitz said strength was across the board. "Home- Goods just has a fabulous mix, and we love the business."
     To support the momentum, TJX Cos. has recently expanded branded-product penetration and increased its buying staff.
     "We have people buying for us all over the world," she continued. "We do business with over 16,000 vendors and offices all over the world. I don't think our HomeGoods business is equivalent to anyone else's. Our sku count is enormous, our differentiation is great, it's a very special business and it is very exciting, and that is what's driving this business, driving the margins."
     Working against the toughest comparisons it will face in the new fiscal year, TJX Companies generated a strong first-quarter performance that was largely ignited by the home segment.
     For the quarter ended May 4, HomeGoods posted a 15.7% sales hike to $690 million and a 7.0% comp increase on top of last year's 9.0% gain. Marmaxx, its sister business in the United States, had a 6.35% sales increase to $4.136 billion. Comps ticked up 1.0% on top of last year's 8.0% increase.
     TJX Canada posted a modest 0.8% sales increase to $645 million, but also reported a modest comp decline - down 1.0% compared to last year's 6.0% comp increase.
     Total company net income for the quarter grew 8.0% to $453 million, and diluted earnings per share jumped 13% to 62 cents.
     TJX Cos.' net sales for the quarter increased 7% to $6.2 billion, while consolidated comparable store sales inched up 2% over last year's reported 8% increase.
     "We are very pleased with our first-quarter results, especially as they were achieved over the highest year-over-year comparisons for quarterly comp sales and EPS growth of this year," Meyrowitz noted.
     Looking ahead, the company said in the second quarter it expects diluted earnings per share to be in the range of 61 to 63 cents, which would represent a 9% to 13% increase over last year's 56 cents per share. TJX estimates consolidated comparable store sales growth of 2% to 3%.
     For the fiscal year ending Feb. 1, 2014, the company is narrowing its expected range for diluted earnings per share to $2.70 to $2.78 versus $2.55 in fiscal 2013.
     Farther ahead in TJX Cos.' sights are loftier goals, Meyrowitz said. "Longer term, we remain very confident in our continued ability to grow sales and profitability as we are well on the road to being a $40 billion plus company."
     The company also thinks it can expand its store count eventually to 3,000 within its existing markets alone, likely more with new markets. These include more urban sectors, for which TJX Cos. is currently developing a new prototype.
     With respect to HomeGoods' real estate future, its recent performance has encouraged the company to ante its store-count potential to 825 units, up from the previously estimated 750 stores.
     "There are about 100 markets where we operate TJ Maxx and Marshalls and no Home- Goods, for example," Meyrowitz said.

Home Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

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