The TJX Companies, Inc. ( TJX Quick Quote TJX - Free Report) has posted fourth-quarter fiscal 2020 results, with earnings and sales rising year over year as well as surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Further, comps increased on consistent improvement in customer traffic. Moreover, management provided a positive bottom-line view for fiscal 2021. Shares of the company rose 7.8% in the pre market trading session today. Quarterly Details The company’s earnings were 81 cents per share, which increased 19% year over year. Further, the bottom line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 77 cents as well as management’s guidance. Net sales advanced about 10% year over year to $12,206.5 million and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $11,867 million. Net sales growth included a neutral impact from currency movements. Sales were backed by solid comparable store sales (comps), which gained from robust customer traffic across all segments. TJX Companies' consolidated comps rose 6% year over year. Comps increased 4%, 10%, 6% and 5% in TJX Canada, TJX International, Marmaxx and HomeGoods segments, respectively. Gross margin improved 0.6 percentage point (pp) to 28.4%. Selling, general and administrative costs, as a percentage of sales, rose 0.3 pp year over year to 17.5%.
Other Financial Updates The company ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $3,216.8 million, long-term debt of $2,236.6 million and total shareholders’ equity of $5,948.2 million. Cash provided by operating activities for 52 weeks ended Feb 1, 2020, was $4,066.7 million. Consolidated inventories as of February 1, 2020 on a per-store basis (including distribution centers and excluding e-commerce, inventory in transit as well as Sierra stores) increased 4% (also on a constant-currency basis) year over year. Given its impressive inventory position, the company is well poised to take advantage of solid opportunities in the holiday season. During the reported quarter, TJX Companies returned $631 million to stockholders through dividend payouts and share buybacks. In fiscal fourth quarter, the company repurchased 5.9 million shares for $355 million and paid out dividends worth $276 million. In fiscal 2020, management paid out dividends worth $1.1 billion and repurchased 27.1 million shares for $1.5 billion.
TJX Companies intends to buy back shares worth $1.5-$1.75 billion in fiscal 2020. Further, the company unveiled a new plan to repurchase $1.75-$2.25 billion worth of TJX stock during fiscal 2021.
The company opened 223 stores in fiscal 2020, taking the total count to 4,529. Fiscal 2021 & Q1 Guidance For fiscal 2021, TJX Companies projects earnings per share (EPS) in the range of $2.77-$2.83, which indicates growth of 4-6% from $2.67 per share reported a year ago. Further, it expects consolidated and Marmaxx comps growth in the range of 2-3%. For the first quarter, the company expects earnings in the band of 59-60 cents per share. The projected figure calls for a rise from 57 cents reported in the year-ago quarter. TJX Companies consolidated comps growth of 2-3% for the quarter. It anticipates comps at Marmaxx to increase in the same range. Price Performance We note that this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has gained 12.7% in the past six months compared with the industry’s growth of 12.4%. Don’t Miss These Solid Retail Bets Burlington Stores ( BURL Quick Quote BURL - Free Report) , with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has long-term EPS growth rate of 15.1%. You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here Costco Wholesale ( COST Quick Quote COST - Free Report) , which carries a Zacks Rank #2, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 8.1%. Big Lots, Inc. ( BIG Quick Quote BIG - Free Report) , which carries a Zacks Rank #2, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 7.2%. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2020 In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 finest buy-and-hold tickers for the entirety of 2020? Last year's 2019 Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolio returned gains as high as +102.7%. Now a brand-new portfolio has been handpicked from over 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these long-term buys. Access Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2020 today >>