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TJX Settles Customer Class-Action Suits

Boston, The TJX Cos., Inc. said Friday it settled customer class-action lawsuits in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico stemming from a massive security breach of customer data that affected at least 45 million credit and debit cards.

The announcement did not specify the settlement cost, but noted that its estimated costs were included in a $107 million reserve included in its second-quarter report for fiscal 2008 and its estimate of $21 million in costs expected in fiscal 2009. The $107 million figure includes costs from other lawsuits not included in the customer class actions, the company said.

TJX said it denied the allegations in the customer lawsuits. It concluded that more legal action would be time-consuming and expensive, the report said.

The company said it would offer vouchers to customers who show they shopped TJX stores, except Bob's Stores, in the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico during the period affected by the breach and incurred certain costs related to the breach.

The company said it will also hold a one-time, three-day customer appreciation event reducing prices 15%, expected sometime next year, the report said.

On Jan. 17, TJX disclosed a breach of its computer systems by an unknown hacker or hackers who accessed card data from transactions as long ago as 2003. On March 28, TJX said at least 45.7 million of its shoppers' cards had been compromised.

Independent organizations that track data thefts said the case is believed to be the largest in the United States based on the number of customer records compromised.

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