TJX Blames Weak 4Q on Frigid Temperatures

T.J. Maxx and Marshalls parent TJX Cos. (NYSE:TJX) reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings as unusually cold winter weather kept some shoppers at home.

However, its shares rallied more than 1% to $61.64 in recent trade on an improvement in same-store sales, a forecast for full-year earnings growth and a new share repurchase program.

In a statement, TJX chief executive Carol Meyrowitz said she believes in the "resiliency and flexibility" of the company's off-price model.

"We delivered these results in a competitive retail environment and despite generally unfavorable weather in many of our regions during the first and fourth quarters,” she said.

In the quarter ended Feb. 1, the discount retail chain reported net income of $582 million, or 81 cents a share, down from a year-earlier profit of $604.8 million, or 82 cents, though up year-over-year when taking into account 2013's adjusted earnings of 74 cents.

Earnings per share were a penny below average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue for the three-month period was up 1% to $7.8 billion from $7.72 billion a year ago, narrowly missing the Street’s view of $7.86 billion. Same-store sales, a key growth metric measuring sales at stores open longer than a year, were up 3% over the prior year.

For fiscal 2014, it sees earnings in the range of $3.05 to $3.19, growing from $2.94 in its just-ended fiscal year, and current-quarter earnings between 65 cents and 66 cents, representing a 5% to 6% year-over-year improvement. Analysts on average are calling for stronger full-year earnings of $3.24 and first-quarter EPS of 71 cents.

Framingham, Mass.-based TJX also announced a plan to buy back up to $1.7 billion of its shares this fiscal year, representing close to 5% of its outstanding shares at current prices.

Shares of TJX were off 0.31% to $60.80 in early trade. They have risen some 38% over the last year.