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Shares of The TJX Companies Inc (TJX - Analyst Report) – an off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions - hit a 52-week high of $46.85 on Mar 22 and eventually closed at $46.62, recording a healthy return of 8.3% year-to-date. Strong comp sales in Feb and impressive fourth quarter fiscal 2013 results drove share prices. The company’s long-term estimated EPS growth rate is 11.33%. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months came in at approximately 4,928K.

Growth Drivers

Solid comparable-store sales growth for consecutive months over the last two years and fourth quarter fiscal 2013 results drove TJX shares to achieve a new high.

TJX reported positive comp sales growth of 1% for the month of February. Also during fourth quarter fiscal 2013, TJX’s consolidated comparable store sales excluding the extra week increased 4.0% on the back of strong performance in all the stores in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Further, well-chosen stocks at the stores improved customer traffic during the period. Comparable store sales growth also exceeded management’s expectations.

Though the company expects consolidated same store sales to be down 0–2% for the month of March, it expects April comp sales to turn around and report comp growth in the range of 6% to 8%.

Besides strong comp sales, TJX also posted strong adjusted earnings of 82 cents, which exceeded the prior-year quarter earnings by 32.0%, driven by solid top-line growth, higher consumer traffic on the back of fresh stocks in the stores and solid comparable-store sales growth. In fact, company's earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the last four quarters, posting an average surprise of 1.64%. The company’s results outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.23%.

TJX's sales grew 15.0% on a year-over-year basis to $7.7 billion in the fourth quarter, driven by solid growth in consolidated comparable store sales. Net sales beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $7.6 billion.

Other Stocks to Consider

TJX currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, there are other favorable stocks in the retail and wholesale sector that are worth considering. These include Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc (GMCR - Analyst Report), Macy’s Inc (M - Analyst Report) and Safeway Inc (SWY - Analyst Report). Green Mountain and Safeway hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Macy’s carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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