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Refund delays, weather dampen comps at TJX, Ross


FRAMINGHAM, Mass. and PLEASANTON, Calif. — The TJX Companies and Ross Stores reported comparable-store results that were less than impressive from what the two discount retailers usually deliver.

TJX reported that sales for the four-week period ended March 2, were $1.8 billion, up 7% over the $1.6 billion achieved during the four-week period ended Feb. 25, 2012. Consolidated comparable-store sales for the month were up 1%.

Carol Meyrowitz, CEO of The TJX Companies, Inc., stated, “Business trends picked up at the very end of the month, leading to our February comp store sales coming in higher than expected at a 1% increase. Winter storms in many U.S. and Canadian regions kept customers at home, but we were pleased to see our momentum continue in warmer weather markets. Further, our home businesses, which are less weather sensitive, were strong across the board. We are also happy with the continued strength of our European businesses. As we move through the spring selling season, we are in an excellent position to continue shipping great brands and fresh fashions to our stores at extreme values.”

Ross Stores reported that sales increased 3% to $726 million for the four weeks ended March 2, up from $707 million for the four weeks ended March 3, 2012. Comparable-store sales for the four weeks ended March 2 declined 1% versus the same period last year. This compared with a strong 9% gain for the four weeks ended February 25, 2012.

Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and CEO, commented, "We believe the slight decline in February same store sales was mainly due to the delay in income tax refunds. With sales improving as the month progressed, we continue to forecast same store sales in March and April to be down 1% to 2% and up 5% to 6%, respectively. This monthly guidance reflects the shift in the Easter holiday and is on top of last year's robust same store sales gains of 10% in March and 7% in April."

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