By Ananya Mariam Rajesh and Aatrayee Chatterjee
(Reuters) – TJX Cos Inc is likely to see a strong growth in annual sales as inflation pushes bargain-hungry but brand-conscious customers to off-price retailers offering cheaper deals and promotions.
The expected surge in demand for companies such as TJX, Ross Stores and Burlington Stores Inc follows a dull 2022 in which pandemic-weary consumers refreshed their wardrobes by splurging in U.S. department stores and retailers.
But their spending spree took a blow from soaring prices, forcing a large section of customers to curb their purchase of discretionary items such as high-end apparel.
“Off-prices are a great place to get branded merchandise at much cheaper prices than you would get at the department store or other full price retailers,” Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough said.
Graphic: Off-Price Retail Foot Traffic https://www.reuters.com/graphics/TJX-RESULTS/dwvkdeoempm/chart.png
But heaving discounting may not be enough. Rising demand for cheaper branded items, analysts say, could put to test the ability of off-price stores to offer a good mix of high-end products such as Balenciaga, Gucci and Versace.
A case in point is Nordstrom Inc, which cut its annual profit forecast after its off-price store chain Rack failed to attract people despite heavy discounting due to inventory mismanagement.
Jessica Ramirez, analyst at Jane Hali and Associates, said TJX is in tune with what the customer is shopping for and are interested.
“TJX is very strong with their assortment … they have been able to bring a lot of good names into their product offerings,” she said.
** Analysts expect total revenue in fiscal 2024 to rise 5.6% to $52.23 billion, according to Refinitiv data
** TJX is expected to report fourth-quarter sales of $14.07 billion, a 1.5% rise from a year earlier
** Q4 adjusted profit per share is expected to come in at 89 cents
** Company is set to report its fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 22 before markets open
Graphic: Off price retail stocks https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/buzz/gdpzqmreavw/MicrosoftTeams-image%20(31).png
WALL STREET SENTIMENT
** Shares of TJX have gained about 21% in the last 12 months
** The current average rating of 27 analysts on TJX stock is “buy”, with 21 analysts rating it “buy” or higher – Refinitiv
** The median price target is $86.50, with at least three brokerages raising their PTs since the beginning of Jan.
(Reporting by Ananya Mariam Rajesh and Aatrayee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)