In a cunning move, TJX survived even though many of its brick-and-mortar peers crumbled by selling products cheaper than Amazon, quickly rotating products to retain customers, and channeling clearance products from other retailers through its own shelves.
As per its latest Q1 filing, TJX’s comparable store sales rose 5% ahead of its 3% growth last year. It clocked in a total revenue rise of 7% to $9.3 billion ahead of forecasts by nearly $70 million. Even though its net income fell by 2% to $700 million, its buybacks enhanced its EPS by a penny to $0.57 beating estimates by three cents.
If its full-year comps rose by 2% - 3%, it would mark the company’s 24th consecutive year of positive comps growth. It increased its full-year EPS guidance by a penny which means that it is expecting its earnings to grow 5%-7%.
Analysts posit a number of reasons behind the company’s resilience. At a time of the e-commerce giant Amazon is crushing smaller retailers, TJX brings down their inventories at rock-bottom prices. This strategy enables the company to sell its products at a 20%-60% discount couple by a quick rotation of the products.
The company also invests considerably its excess cash on buybacks and dividends. During the first quarter, it brought back $350 million in shares that shot up its stock by nearly 20%. It also plans to repurchase up to $2.25 billion in shares for the full year accounting for 3% of the current market cap.
However solid the core business looks lower merchandise margin, higher supply chain costs, higher freight costs, and new store openings caused its gross margin to contract 40 basis points annually to 28.5%. It is expected that its Q2 gross margin to hover between 28.2% and 28.3% versus 28.9% a year earlier.
Despite the headwinds recently worsened by the U.S tariff hike on Chinese goods, analysts are optimistic that TJX is the best bet in the crumbling retail scenario.