The TJX Companies, Inc., Jan 2012 Sales/ Trading Statement Call, Feb 02, 2012

| About: TJX Companies (TJX)

TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE:TJX)

February 02, 2012 12:00 am ET

Executives

Sherry Lang - Senior Vice President of Global Communications

Sherry Lang

Good morning. This is Sherry Lang, Senior Vice President of Global Communications for the TJX Companies. Today is February 2, 2012, and I would like to welcome you to our investor call to discuss our January 2012 sales.

Before I begin, please note that the forward-looking statements I make today about the company's results, expectations and plans are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and actions to vary materially. These risks and uncertainties are discussed in the company's SEC filings, including, without limitation, the Form 10-K filed March 30, 2011.

Further, these comments are copyrighted by The TJX Companies. Any recording, rebroadcast, reproduction or other use of these comments for profit or otherwise without prior consent of TJX is prohibited and a violation of United States copyright laws. [Operator Instructions]

Now to recap the numbers. Sales for the 4-week period ended January 28, 2012, were $1.4 billion, up 5% over the $1.3 billion achieved during the 4-week period ended January 29, 2011. For the 52 weeks ended January 28, 2012, sales reached $23.2 billion, up 6% over last year's $21.9 billion.

Consolidated comparable store sales for January 2012 increased 7%, which was well above our plan. For the 13-week fourth quarter, consolidated comp store sales also increased 7%. For the 52-week, year-to-date period, consolidated comp store sales increased 4%.

Our January comp sales increases of 7% on both the consolidated level and at the Marmaxx Group, as well as the strong performance at each of our divisions, speaks to the customer draw of our values and the momentum of our business. In addition, we are exiting January with very lean inventories which are in excellent shape and position us extremely well to ship exciting, fresh, spring apparel and home fashions to our stores.

We now expect fourth quarter earnings per share to be at or slightly above the high end of our previously estimated range of $1.19 to $1.23. This guidance includes the net impact from several items that affect comparability of results, including previously discussed costs related to closing StyleSense, an early retirement program, the closure of a European office facility and a separation agreement, as well as write-offs and adjustments at TJX Europe, offset in part by the net benefit of tax adjustments. That said, we continue to expect TJX Europe to report strong operating results in the quarter.

It is also important to note that we anticipate fourth quarter consolidated pretax margin to be up slightly over last year, and we feel very good about the business as we head into the first quarter.

As a reminder, the company announced a 2-for-1 stock split on January 5, 2012. The company's stock will begin trading at its new split-adjusted price on Friday, February 3, 2012. And the company will be reporting its fourth quarter and year-and earnings per share numbers on February 22, 2012, on a post-split basis, which will be approximately half the pre-split numbers.

Now to comp sales by division for January, the fourth quarter and the full year, beginning with our U.S. divisions. At the Marmaxx Group, comp store sales increased 7% in January, significantly exceeding our plans. For the fourth quarter, comp store sales increased 6%. For the full year, comps at Marmaxx increased 5% on top of 2 years of very strong growth. I will go into further detail on Marmaxx in a moment.

At HomeGoods, comp store sales increased 10% in both January and the fourth quarter and increased 6% for the full year. Clearly, we are very pleased with the performance of this division.

Moving to TJX Canada. At Winners and HomeSense combined, comp store sales increased 4% over last year in January. For the fourth quarter, comps increased 3%, and for the full year, comps decreased 1% compared with last year. We are pleased to see the momentum that has come back into our Canadian business.

Moving to TJX Europe. At TK Maxx and HomeSense combined, comp store sales increased 7% in January. Comps increased 10% for the fourth quarter and increased 2% for the full year. We're excited to see our European business continue on a much stronger track.

To give some additional color to January's results at the Marmaxx Group, geographically, sales were generally strong in most regions. The Northeast, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic outperformed the chain. Florida was in line with the chain's average. The Midwest, Southwest and West Coast trailed the chain's average. As to merchandise categories at Marmaxx, apparel comped up 8% and home fashions comped up 3% in January.

Summing up. With very strong customer traffic and sales results, we have great momentum, and with inventories in excellent shape, we're extremely well positioned for the spring. Once again, we now expect fourth quarter EPS to be at or slightly above the high end of our previously estimated range of $1.19 to $1.23, including the items mentioned in today's press release and described above. We also expect consolidated pretax margins in the quarter to be up slightly. We're feeling upbeat about our business in the short and long terms, as we close fiscal 2012 and begin 2013.

We expect to report fourth quarter and year end results on February 22, 2012. We will also intend to discuss our plans and expectations for the month of February and fiscal 2013 on our conference call that day. We will be reporting February sales on March 1, 2012. [Operator Instructions] Thank you, and have a good day.

Copyright policy: All transcripts on this site are the copyright of Seeking Alpha. However, we view them as an important resource for bloggers and journalists, and are excited to contribute to the democratization of financial information on the Internet. (Until now investors have had to pay thousands of dollars in subscription fees for transcripts.) So our reproduction policy is as follows: You may quote up to 400 words of any transcript on the condition that you attribute the transcript to Seeking Alpha and either link to the original transcript or to www.SeekingAlpha.com. All other use is prohibited.

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HERE IS A TEXTUAL REPRESENTATION OF THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S CONFERENCE CALL, CONFERENCE PRESENTATION OR OTHER AUDIO PRESENTATION, AND WHILE EFFORTS ARE MADE TO PROVIDE AN ACCURATE TRANSCRIPTION, THERE MAY BE MATERIAL ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR INACCURACIES IN THE REPORTING OF THE SUBSTANCE OF THE AUDIO PRESENTATIONS. IN NO WAY DOES SEEKING ALPHA ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY INVESTMENT OR OTHER DECISIONS MADE BASED UPON THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS WEB SITE OR IN ANY TRANSCRIPT. USERS ARE ADVISED TO REVIEW THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S AUDIO PRESENTATION ITSELF AND THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S SEC FILINGS BEFORE MAKING ANY INVESTMENT OR OTHER DECISIONS.

If you have any additional questions about our online transcripts, please contact us at: transcripts@seekingalpha.com. Thank you!