T.J. Maxx owner receives sales boost as customers return to stores

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FILE PHOTO: A T.J. Maxx store which is owned by TJX Cos Inc in Pasadena

(Reuters) -TJX Cos Inc on Wednesday beat market estimates for quarterly net sales, as the easing of COVID-19 curbs prompted Americans to return to brick-and-mortar stores ahead of the reopening of schools.

Off-price retailers including TJX’s T.J. Maxx and Burlington Stores weathered a tough 2020 when the pandemic accelerated a shift to e-commerce as the sector relies heavily on the treasure-hunt shopping experience it offers.

However, they have rebounded rather swiftly thanks to pent-up demand from U.S. customers who are armed with stimulus checks and child tax credit payments.

“Treasure-hunt shopping experience continued to draw customers into our stores around the world,” TJX Chief Executive Officer Ernie Herrman said.

Open-only same-store sales at its Marmaxx U.S. division, which includes its U.S. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores, soared 18% from pre-pandemic levels two years ago, while its HomeGoods segment kept up its strong run during the health crisis, posting a 36% jump.

Big-box chain Target Corp also said apparel benefited from an early start to the back-to-school season in the second quarter.

Analysts have said that even apparel sellers that bought a lot of inventory have been left with several empty shelves as students have been splurging on new tops and trousers ahead of their return to brick-and-mortar schools and colleges.

TJX said open-only same-store sales for the start of the third quarter were up mid-teen percentage from the third quarter of fiscal 2020.

The company, however, stopped short of providing a financial forecast, citing uncertainty at a time when COVID-19 Delta variant cases are increasing across its markets.

The company’s second-quarter net sales rose 81% to $12.08 billion from a year earlier, above estimates of $11.04 billion. Excluding items, TJX earned 79 cents per share, beating Refinitiv IBES estimates of 57 cents.

Shares in TJX rose 1.5% in premarket trading.

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam and Mehr Bedi in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Maju Samuel)

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