Retail giant TJX Cos. said Wednesday (Nov. 18) that it plans to add eCommerce to its HomeGoods.com site in 2021 as same-store sales at its flagship Marshalls and T.J. Maxx brick-and-mortar stores continue to suffer from the pandemic. TJX said as part of its fiscal Q3 earnings release that comp sales for the company as a whole fell 5 percent year over year for the period even when excluding sites closed due to COVID-19.
TJX CEO and President Ernie Herrman said in announcing the results that “to both leverage our strength in the home category and capitalize on our market share growth opportunities, we are pleased to share that we plan to rollout e-commerce on HomeGoods.com later next year.”
He didn’t offer additional details, but the HomeGoods.com site currently only allows consumers to buy gift cards, not actual merchandise. Management also said that while the “vast majority” of its 470 stores closed due to COVID-19 shutdown orders are in Europe, “the company’s tkmaxx.com eCommerce business in the U.K. remains open.”
The HomeGoods.com news came as TJX reported a 15 percent gain in year-over-year comp sales at brick-and-mortar HomeGoods stores not closed by the pandemic during fiscal Q3, which ended Oct. 31.
Herrman added that pullbacks in same-store sales at TJX’s flagship U.S. T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s stores and other divisions actually proved smaller than management had expected. The company said comp sales at stores that remained open fell 10 percent to $5.8 billion at U.S. Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx stores, 7 percent to $1 billion at TJX Canada and 6 percent at TJX Europe and Australia to $1.4 billion.
“Our third-quarter results significantly exceeded our plans on both the top and bottom lines as consumers were drawn to our compelling brands and values,” Hermann said. “All of our divisions drove sales above our plans, and our home, beauty, and activewear businesses outperformed at [U.S. Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx sites], TJX Canada, and TJX International.”
The company also said that despite having temporarily closed hundreds of stores, it still managed to cut the ribbon on 17 completely new locations during the quarter.
TJX said its consolidated pretax profit margin fell to 10 percent, down from 10.7 percent in Q3 2019. Management said in a statement that the company’s “very strong merchandise margin increase was more than offset by significant operating costs related to COVID-19 and expense deleverage on the year-over-year sales decline.”
All in, TJX said net sales fell 3.2 percent to $10.1 billion from $10.5 billion a year ago. However, net income actually rose 4.6 percent to $867 million (71 cents per share) from $828.2 million (68 cents per share) in Q3 2019.
The chain attributed that improvement to lower taxes due to a “true-up” of TJX’s year-to-date tax rate during the quarter, coupled with “the shifting of income and loss positions across the company’s operating jurisdictions.”
Looking ahead, TJX said comp sales for stores not closed by COVID-19 fell 7 percent in November’s first two weeks, “similar to the trend the company saw during the last week of October.”
Management said it wouldn’t provide future guidance beyond that, “due to the increasing uncertainty of the current environment and the difficulty in forecasting the impact of the global pandemic on temporary store closures and consumer behavior, demand, and traffic.”