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Consolidated same-store sales at The TJX Companies Inc. (TJX - Analyst Report), an off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions, climbed 1% year over year in the four-week period ended March 2, 2013.

Total sales climbed 7% year over year for the aforementioned period to $1.8 billion. Sales did not pick up until the end of the month due to severe winter storms in some regions across the U.S. and Canada. The poor weather conditions led more consumers to stay home and also impacted demand for spring apparel. 

Comparable store sales exceeded management’s expectations on the back of strong performance across all stores in the U.S. and Europe that were not impacted by weather.

In the U.S., flattish comparable store sales in the Marmaxx division exceeded expectations, with TJX seeing a 6% increase in home fashions comps as offset by a 2% decline in apparel comps. The HomeGoods division saw broad-based strength across regions.

TJX Canada, however was negatively affected by winter storms and reported a slip of 1% in same store sales during the month.

TJX Europe continues on a growth trajectory, posting a 5% increase in same store sales.

However, the sales scenario was not pleasant for many retailers. Delayed tax refunds, increased payroll taxes and high gas prices moderated sales gains for most retailers including Gap Inc. (GPS - Analyst Report), Limited Brands Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST - Analyst Report), which registered comps growth of 3%, 3% and 6%, respectively.

Guidance

TJX maintains its guidance provided during the fourth quarter 2013 earnings conference call. For fiscal 2014, the company expects earnings per share (EPS) to be in the range of $2.66 to $2.78. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2014 is $2.81, higher than the company’s guidance range.

For the first quarter of 2014, the company expects diluted EPS to be in the range of 59 cents to 62 cents.

For March, the company expects consolidated same store sales to be down 0-2%. However, in April the company expects to turn around and report a comp growth in the range of 6% to 8%.

Headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts, TJX is an off-price apparel and home fashions retailer operating in the United States and internationally. The company operates its stores under the T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Winners, HomeSense, HomeGoods, and T.K. Maxx trademarks. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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