Rifling through the racks is an art at TJX stores. The TJX Companies operates about a half a dozen retail chains, including the two largest off-price clothing retailers in the US: T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. T.J. Maxx sells brand-name family apparel, accessories, women's shoes, domestics, giftware, and jewelry at discount prices at some 980 stores nationwide. Marshalls offers a full line of shoes and a broader selection of menswear through about 890 stores. Its HomeGoods chain of some 375 stores nationwide focuses exclusively on home furnishings. T.K. Maxx is the company's European retail arm with 350-plus stores in the UK, Ireland, Germany, and now Poland. The retailer also operates about 310 stores in Canada.
T.J. Maxx and Marshalls (referred to collectively in the US as Marmaxx) operate about 1,865 US stores, accounting for two-thirds of the company's total sales. They share similar retail concepts, and sell merchandise generally priced 20% to 60% below similar items at department stores. While Marshalls offers larger men's and shoe departments than T.J. Maxx and costume jewelry, both chains target deal-seeking consumers who usually shop at full-priced chains. Some 375 HomeGoods stores, which sell home fashions in about 40 states and Puerto Rico, round out the company's US retail operation. North of the border, TJX operates about 215 Winners discount apparel and home fashions stores in Canada. About 85 HomeSense stores offer merchandise similar to that of the HomeGoods chain in the US. New-to-Canada Marshalls operates about a half a dozen stores there. The company does business in Europe as T.K. Maxx. Its stores offer a merchandise mix similar to T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and Winners stores. HomeSense operates about two dozen shops in the UK.
TJX Companies rings up about 75% of its sales in the US, with stores in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The remainder is split evenly between Canada, where the retailer has stores in all 10 provinces, and Europe. The UK is the company's largest market in Europe with 245 stores, followed by Germany (54 stores), Poland (17), and Ireland (16).
The off-price retail giant rang up more than $23 billion in sales in fiscal 2012 (ends January), a 6% increase over the prior year. Net income grew by 11% over the same period. Same-store sales grew by 4% in fiscal 2012, following increases of 4% and 6% in the previous two years. Sales at the fast-growing company have more than doubled over the past decade, fueled by the increasing popularity of discount retailing (helped along by the recent deep recession), an abundance of new stores, and international expansion. Sales at the retailer's T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores in the US increased 9% vs. the prior year, while sales at its HomeGoods stores jumped 15% over the same period. Sales at the company's stores in Europe increased 16% (12% when adjusted for currency translation), while the Canadian retail operation saw its sales grow by 7%. Overall, the company benefitted from increased traffic to its stores and the fact that customers tended to spend more per visit.
TJX Companies' focus on value across multiple chains appears to be just the right retail formula for lean times and beyond. The retailer targets middle- to upper-income, fashion-conscious females between the ages of 25 and 54 who tend to shop at high-end department and specialty stores, but have traded down as budgets tighten. As a result, TJX performed well throughout the recession and during the lackluster recovery. The company's strategy for continued success is to do more of the same: grow its store base at home and abroad. In fiscal 2013 TJX will add stores across all of its markets: about 85 new T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores, and 40 HomeGoods locations are slated to open in the US; an increase of 15 stores in Canada; and about 10 new stores in Europe. While the retailer is taking a cautious approach in Europe, focusing on improving performance at existing stores, in the near term, longer term it believes the Europe presents a significant growth market. Ultimately, the company aims to operate more than 4,000 stores.
Mergers and Acquisitions
To strengthen its online presence, TJX Companies in late 2012 acquired off-price Internet retailer Sierra Trading Post for about $200 million. The purchase of the Wyoming-based e-tailer of outdoor gear and apparel added scale, capabilities, and infrastructure to TJX's existing online operations, while TJX's purchasing and marketing heft should help Sierra Trading grow profitably.
The investment firm FMR, LLC is the company's largest shareholder with more than 12% of TJX's shares. – less