TJX Cos. (TJX) reported a 24% increase in second-quarter earnings on Tuesday as comparable sales improved and consumers continued to seek out deals amid a slow economic recovery.

As a result, the company lifted its full-year guidance by a penny to a range of $2.39 to $2.45 a share, presuming same-store sales growth of 4% to 5%. Excluding special items, analysts on average are looking for earnings of $2.46.

For the current quarter, which includes the key back-to-school season, the T.J. Maxx and Marshalls operator sees earnings of 56 cents to 59 cents on 2% to 4% same-store sales growth. Analysts are looking for non-GAAP earnings of 62 cents.

The Framingham, Mass.-based off-price retailer reported net income of $421 million, or 56 cents a share compared with a year-earlier $348 million, or 45 cents, topping average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll by a penny.

Revenue for the three months ended July 28 was up 9% to $5.9 billion from $5.5 billion a year ago, narrowly below the Street’s view of $6 billion.

The operator of discount retail stores said comparable sales, or those open longer than a year, grew 7% during the quarter. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls together increased by 7% while HomeGoods climbed by 9%.  

“This marks the seventh consecutive year of very strong second quarter operating performance, which we believe demonstrates the sustainability of our sales and profit growth in both strong and weak economies,” TJX Companies CEO Carol Meyrowitz said in a statement.

The retailer said customer traffic was “up substantially” across all divisions in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Despite the upbeat quarter and fiscal 2013 forecast, shares of TJX traded virtually flat on Tuesday morning. 

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