Value in vogue for back-to-school

Ross Stores and The TJX companies both reported a better-than-expected 8% same store sales increase during August.
 
Shoppers continued to beat a path to Ross and TJX stores during August where exceptionally strong sales suggest consumers are unrelenting in their search for value amid protracted economic weakness.
 
“We are pleased with August same store sales that were ahead of our expectations,” Ross vice chairman and CEO Michael Balmuth said. “Our ability to deliver a wide array of name brand bargains for back-to-school shoppers drove healthy traffic to our stores during the month. Looking ahead, we continue to forecast same store sales gains of 2% to 3% for September and 3% to 4% for October.”
 
At TJX, the 8% comp increase came just two weeks after the company reported second quarter results and indicated third quarter comps would increased between 2% and 4%.
“Our strong momentum continued into August and gained as the month progressed, leading to comparable store sales increases that were well ahead of our expectations,” said TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz. “Once again, the strength of our performance was broad based. Customer traffic drove the comp sales increase across our divisions in the U.S., Canada and Europe, which we believe is a great indicator that our value proposition continues to resonate with consumers.”
 
The strong performance prompted the company to narrow the range of its third quarter earnings forecast. Meyrowitz said the company expects earnings to be toward the upper end of a previously estimated range of 56 cents to 59 cents.
 
“We believe we are in an excellent position to buy into the terrific opportunities in the marketplace, bringing great brands and fashions at compelling values to our customers,” Meyrowitz said.
 
TJX ended the month with nearly 3,000 stores, consisting of 1,010 T.J. Maxx, 900 Marshalls and 399 HomeGoods stores in the United States; 222 Winners, 87 HomeSense and 13 Marshalls stores in Canada; and 339 T.K. Maxx and 24 HomeSense stores in Europe.
 
Ross ended the month with 1,072 Ross Dress for Less stores and 102 dd’s Discounts stores.