MILWAUKEE - Cash-strapped consumers continued to seek value at stores run by discount chain operator TJX Cos., the Framingham, Mass., company said yesterday as it reported second-quarter profit rose 31 percent, narrowly beating expectations.
Chief executive Carol Meyrowitz said traffic has risen at TJX stores, which include T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.
The company forecast full-year earnings of $2.26 to $2.38, roughly in line with analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who on average expect $2.36. The company’s outlook for the fourth quarter, which includes the holiday shopping season, was below estimates, however. That news sent the shares down nearly 3 percent.
Jefferies & Co. analyst Randal Konik told clients that investors are concerned the company’s momentum, among the best in the industry, could slow at any time. TJX is typically conservative in its guidance, and its results will probably come in at the high end or above its projections, he wrote. But he said the guidance suggests the benefit TJX is reaping from the recession is starting to fade.
Lazard Capital Markets analyst Todd Slater said the results were a “good-quality beat’’ but TJX’s guidance “seems very conservative’’ and implies the company’s two-year comparable sales trends are slowing.
For the three months ended Aug. 1, TJX earned $261.6 million, or 61 cents per share, compared with $200.2 million, or 45 cents a year earlier. The results beat Wall Street’s forecast, made on a comparable basis, by 1 cent per share.
Sales for the period rose 4 percent to $4.75 billion, meeting analysts’ estimates.