Discount apparel remains in style

TJX Companies reported a 3% comp increase on top of a prior year gain of 4% while Ross Stores said posted a comp increase of 2% compared to last November’s 5% comp increase.

Total sales at TJX increased 7% to $2.2 billion during the November reporting period and so far this year sales at the company have advanced 10% to $20.3 billion. Total sales for November at Ross increased 6% to $813 million and so far this year are up 11% to nearly $7.8 billion.

"We are pleased that business trends in the second half of the month were strong, leading to our comp store sales for November coming in higher than we expected at a 3% increase," said TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz. "Business throughout the Thanksgiving week and weekend was robust, even as we remained true to our off-price practice of offering great values every day, and stayed out of the fray of Black Friday promotions."

Meyrowitz said increased customer traffic drove the comp increase again this month as shoppers were drawn by extreme values on a merchandise assortment she characterized as compelling, always-fresh and branded.

"We continue to be excited about our prospects for December and the fourth quarter. Our marketing campaigns will be seen by more consumers. We have fantastic gift-giving initiatives underway in our store and we’ll be offering amazing values to consumers," Meyrowitz said. "The holiday selling season is off to a very good start, and I am convinced we will continue to bring new customers into our stores and keep them coming back long after December."

Ross Stores vice chairman and CEO Michael Balmuth expressed a similar sentiment.

"November same store sales were slightly ahead of our expectations of flat to up 1%," Balmuth said. "We achieved these results despite unseasonably warm weather in the Western U.S. during the first half of the month. We are encouraged that our sales strengthened as weather normalized during the final two weeks."

Although the company was pleased with its November performance, Balmuth said most of the holiday season was still ahead and forecast December comps in the range of 2% to 3%.

Ross ended the month with 1.097 stores while its larger rival TJX ended the period with 1,039 T.J. Maxx, 912 Marshalls and 417 HomeGoods stores in the United States; 222 Winners, 88 HomeSense, and 14 Marshalls stores in Canada; and 344 T.K. Maxx and 24 HomeSense stores in Europe.



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