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TJX Cos., Costco beat Street estimates; Target misses


New York City TJX Cos. and Costco beat the Street estimates for January same-store sales, while Target came in below analysts’ expectations but in line with its own estimates.

TJX Cos. said Thursday that its January same-store sales rose 12%, beating the Street’s estimate of a 7.8% increase. The company raised its forecast.

The company said sales for the four-week period ended January 30, 2010, surged 20% to $1.3 billion. For the full year, sales reached $20.3 billion, up 8% over last year. Same-store sales for the year were up 6%.

Carol Meyrowitz, president and CEO of The TJX Cos., stated, “We are very pleased with our 12% increase in January consolidated comparable-store sales, particularly since January is typically not a big shopping month. With above-plan sales and margins continuing in January, we are significantly raising our guidance for fourth quarter earnings per share to the range of $.90 to $.91. With the strength of our value proposition, our flexible business model, and our unusually broad customer demographic reach, we remain very confident that our momentum will continue as we move forward.”

Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a better-than-expected 8% increase in January same-store sales, helped by a weak dollar and higher gasoline prices. Analysts, on average, were expecting a rise 7.8% rise, including the impact of fuel prices and foreign exchange,

Same-store sales at U.S. locations rose 4%, while its international division sales surged 25%, the company said. January net sales rose 10% to $5.62 billion.

Excluding the impact of gasoline prices and foreign exchange, Costco said U.S. comparable sales were flat, while on a local currency basis, international same-store sales rose 9%.

Target Corp. said Thursday that same-store sales edged up 0.5% in January, but the performance missed Wall Street's expectations for the retailer. Analysts predicted a bigger increase of 1.4%.

But Target said the results were in line with its expectations as deeper clearance sales stifled growth. The discounter said its apparel and home categories had solid monthly results, and it reported strong traffic at its stores.

Chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement that the apparel and home performances, strong traffic and lean inventory should help the company continue to gain market share this year.

January's total net retail sales rose 3.6% to $4.29 billion from $4.14 billion.

BJ's Wholesale Club said Thursday its sales rose 8.4%, primarily due to greater gasoline revenue. The result beat Wall Street estimates. Analysts expected the sales figure to rise 5.1%, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.

Excluding gasoline revenue, sales at stores open at least one year rose 2.9%, missing analysts' average estimate of 3.1%.

For the fiscal fourth quarter, BJ's said sales rose 9.4% to $2.74 billion. Analysts were expecting $2.78 billion in revenue. The company said sales at stores open at least a year grew 4.6%, or 2.3%, excluding gasoline sales.

Fred’s said its January same-store sales fell 2%, versus an expected 1.6% rise. Sales were hurt by icy conditions in its main trading areas, the company said.

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