2018 was a strong year for major U.S retailers including off-price giants like TJX Companies and Ross Stores whose comparable-store sales grew 6% and 4% respectively during the year.
However, with the retail industry experiencing some strong headwinds over the last months owing to a volatile market and many retailers have already experienced sales slowdowns.
TJX and Ross Stores are scheduled to report their first-quarter results next week and the investors are worrying whether they too succumbed to the headwinds. However, there are good reasons to hope that it may not be the case and the companies have managed to carve out a decent quarter in terms of sales.
One of the primary reasons for the optimism about TJX and Ross’s quarterly results is their consistency. 2018 was the fourth consecutive year when Ross posted a 4% comp sales increase. TJX too averaged 4% comp-sales growth over the period gaining 6% in 2018, 2% in 2017, and 5% in 2016.
Another reason is that both the companies have a conservative approach towards forecasts and in most cases, they exceed those forecasts. So the investors can hope that they will meet their targets even when the market is volatile.
In keeping with this approach, Ross anticipates comp sales rise up to 2% in Q1, earnings per share would come in between $1.05 and $1.11 compared to $1.11 in 2018, and total sales to rise almost 6% to $3.79 billion with EPS of $1.12.
On the other hand, TJX expects a 2% to 3% comp sales gain but EPS may get hurt by 7% owing to higher freight costs, wage increases, and currency headwinds. Total sales are expected to rise 6% to $9.21 billion with an EPS of $0.55.
Furthermore, following the recent tariff raise on $200 billion Chinese imports which may further increase, the retail industry is in for some serious long term threats. But the exact nature of impact is still not clear and while TJX and Ross’s track records may inspire assurance, there’s still no guarantee in investing.