TJX Companies Boosts Dividend

Apr. 7.11 | About: TJX Companies (TJX)

TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE:TJX) raised its quarterly dividend by 27%.

The company’s Board approved a hike in the quarterly dividend to 19 cents per share to be paid on June 2, 2011 to stockholders of record on May 12, 2011.

The increased dividend reflects the company’s sound financial position and well-defined future prospects. Signs of recovery in the economy have made share buybacks and dividend increases a common factor among companies sitting on ample cash. Apart from enhancing shareholders’ return, such a strategy lifts the market value of the stock.

TJX recently reported that fiscal fourth-quarter earnings grew 12.0% to $1.05 per share from 94 cents in the year-ago period. The quarterly earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.02.

Profits were primarily driven by prudent inventory management and increased store traffic.

Net sales during the quarter grew 7.0% year-over-year to $6.3 million. TJX's consolidated same-store sales increased 2% in the quarter, driven by same-store sales growth at Marmaxx (+3%), Home Goods (+2%), A.J. Wright (+18%) and TJX Canada (+4%), partially offset by a decline of 6% in TJX Europe.

TJX exited the year with cash and cash equivalents of $1,741.8 million, compared to $1,614.6 million in the year-ago period.The company generated $1976 million of cash from operations. The company repurchased 27.6 million shares worth $1.2 billion and paid a cash dividend of $229.3 million.

Currently, we have a long-term “Neutral” rating on TJX Companies. The company holds a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term ‘Buy’ recommendation.