STORE SPACES

TJX to open 260 stores this year

BY Ernie Herrman

Off-price powerhouse TJX Companies still seems plenty of room for store expansion — particularly in the home good sector.

The retailer, which reported strong second quarter results on Tuesday, has more than 3,800 stores worldwide and will open 260 new locations this year. Long term, it sees the opportunity for 5,600 stores with it current banners, or about 1,700 more locations than it currently operates.

"We see enormous global store growth potential for TJX," CEO Ernie Herrman said on the company's quarterly call with investors and analysts. "We have plenty of white space or markets to fill in throughout our current countries. We continue to see store openings as an attractive investment and a very good use of capital internationally."

TJX's remains committed to its brick-and-mortar strategy. More importantly, so do its customers.

"The customer is clearly telling us that brick-and-mortar retail continues to be an essential part of the shopping experience and certainly when it is executed right with the right values," Herrman said. "All of this gives us confidence in our long-term global store growth potential. Our key pillars for growth remain driving comp sales and customer traffic and our global store expansion."

On the call, Hermann also discussed TJX's new U.S. home concept, HomeSense, which debuts Aug. 17 in Framingham, Mass. He emphasized that HomeSense will look and feel very different from the company's HomeGoods chain.

"HomeSense is rooted in inspiration and discovery and will complement HomeGoods by offering expanding categories such as large scale furniture lighting and art," Herrman said.

The new format will also include such new departments as a general store, which will offer organization and hardware items, with an element of fashion. Certain departments, including kids and pets, will be featured only at HomeGoods.

“We believe an enormous opportunity remains for us to gain additional share in the U.S. home market,” Herrman said. “We are confident that shoppers are going to love our new HomeSense stores.”

While HomeGoods is typically a standalone format, TJX is experimenting. It has "successfully" opened more than 20 HomeGoods stores co-joined with an existing larger Marshalls or T.J. Maxx store. Pleased with the above-plan sales of this group of stores, the retailer plans to convert an additional 10 Marmaxx (Marshalls or T.J. Maxx) locations to this format this year.

“This initiative will bring even more HomeGoods stores to new markets more quickly and efficiently and increase our overall HomeGoods openings to almost 100 this year,” Hermann said. “Again, we are seeing great opportunity for the future of our company within the U.S. home sector.”

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