TJX Sells Bob’s Stores Division

Framingham, Mass. The TJX Cos. said Wednesday that it has sold Bob’s Stores to private-equity firms Versa Capital Management and Crystal Capital. Bob’s, which sells casual clothing and footwear for the entire family, has 34 stores throughout the Northeast. It is TJX’s smallest division.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. TJX said the deal will result in a $15 million, or 3 cent-per-share charge, in the third quarter.

"While we continue to believe Bob's Stores has great potential and an excellent organization, our decision to sell the business reflects our vision to grow TJX as a global, off-price company," TJX president and chief executive Carol Meyrowitz said in a statement. "We believe that focusing on the significant opportunities to expand the domestic and international presence of our core, off-price concepts is the right strategy for us at this time."

Bob's had sales of approximately $310 million in 2007, or about 2% of TJX’s $18.6 billion total sales. Same-store sales grew about 5% during the last fiscal year. However, Bob’s operating loss was expected to grow this year, from a loss of $17.4 million to a loss of about $18 million, according to analysts.

Citigroup analyst Kimberly Greenberger told investors in a research note that the sale removes a "distraction" for TJX, according to the Associated Press.

"We believe TJX's sale of Bob's will help (management) maintain focus on its core off-price business model as Bob's was the only non-off-price division in TJX's portfolio of brands and was not a strategic fit in our view," she wrote.

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