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Apparel discounters maintain momentum

TJX and Ross both reported April sales results that exceeded expectations. Same store sales for the four-week period ended May 4, increased 8% for TJX, while Ross saw a same-store sales increase of 7% for the same period.

TJX reported total sales of $2 billion for the four-week period ended May 4, up 9% over the $1.8 billion achieved during the four-week period ended April 28 of last year. For the 13-week period ended May 4, sales reached $6.2 billion, a 7% increase over the $5.8 billion achieved during the 13-week period ended April 28 of last year. For the 13-week, year-to-date period ended May 4, consolidated comparable store sales at TJX increased 2% over last year’s reported 8% increase.

For the 13-week, year-to-date period ended May 4, consolidated comparable store sales at TJX increased 2% over last year’s reported 8% increase. Ross saw same store sales grow by 9% for the first quarter ended April 28, 2012, same store sales grew 9%.

“We are pleased with our 8% consolidated comparable store sales increase in April, which was at the high end of our expectations,” said TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz. “Both in April and the first quarter, our consolidated comp sales increases were achieved over strong growth last year.” 

Customer traffic drove comp increases at all divisions, as consumers responded to fresh selections of branded spring apparel resulting in strong sales and margins. As a result, the company said it was narrowing its first quarter earnings per share expected range to 61 to 62 cents. 

“As we enter the second quarter, May is off to a strong start and our inventory levels are in an excellent position for us to buy into the enormous amount of quality opportunities we are seeing in the marketplace,” added Meyrowitz. 

It was a similar situation at Ross Stores, where the company reported sales of $778 million for the four weeks ended May 4, a 12% increase from $697 million for the four weeks ended May 5 of last year. For the 13 weeks ended May 4, sales totaled $2.5 billion, a 6% increase over the $2.4 billion in sales for the 13 weeks ended May 5 of last year. Comparable store sales for the 13 weeks ended May 4, 2013 rose 3% over the 13 weeks ended May 5, 2012. For the first quarter ended April 28, 2012, same store sales grew 9%.

"We are pleased with the above-plan sales and margin gains we achieved for both April and the first quarter, especially considering our very strong prior year comparisons. These results were driven by our ongoing ability to deliver compelling bargains to today's value-focused customers,” said Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and CEO. "We now estimate earnings per share for the 13 weeks ended May 4, 2013 to be $1.06 to $1.07, compared to our initial guidance of $1.00 to $1.04. This updated range includes an approximate 2 cent benefit versus our original projections related to the favorable timing of expenses that are expected to shift into subsequent quarters within the fiscal year."

 

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