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TJX consolidated comparable store sales decline

Oct '08
The TJX Companies Inc reported September 2008 sales results. Sales for the five-week period ended October 4, 2008, were $1.83 billion, up 3% over the $1.78 billion achieved during the five-week period ended October 6, 2007. For the 35 weeks ended October 4, 2008, sales reached $12.2 billion, up 6% over the $11.5 billion achieved during the 35 weeks ended October 6, 2007.

Consolidated comparable store sales for the five-week period ended October 4, 2008, decreased 1% compared to last year. Foreign currency exchange rates negatively impacted September comparable store sales by two percentage points, which was unanticipated in the Company's prior guidance.

Excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rates, consolidated comparable store sales increased 1% for the month. For the 35-week period ended October 4, 2008, consolidated comparable store sales increased 3% over last year, with a neutral impact from foreign currency exchange rates.

Carol Meyrowitz, President and Chief Executive Officer of The TJX Companies, Inc., stated, “Although September consolidated comparable store sales were below plan, customer transactions were up across virtually all divisions. Also, despite economic concerns internationally, our divisions in these markets had strong performance.

With the volatile economic environment in the U.S. and a generally warmer September than last year, we were pleased to see sales trends in the U.S. dramatically improve at the end of the month as the weather turned more seasonable in key regions. While we believe that consumers are worried, we also believe that with the right execution of our resilient business model, our financial strength, extremely well controlled inventories, strong merchandise margins, and the excellent values we offer our customers, we are in an excellent position going into the holiday season.”

Updated Guidance:
The Company is lowering its guidance for third quarter earnings per share from continuing operations to the range of $.55 to $.58 primarily to reflect lower-than-expected sales. This range is based upon estimated consolidated comparable store sales growth for the quarter of approximately flat to 1%. It assumes a negative impact from foreign exchange rates of $.01 per share and represents a 2% to 7% increase over the $.54 in diluted earnings per share in the prior year.

Reflecting this updated guidance, the Company now expects full year Fiscal 2009 diluted earnings per share from continuing operations to be in the range of $2.26 to $2.31 with consolidated comparable store sales growth of approximately 2%. This guidance includes an expected $.09 per share benefit from the 53rd week in the Company's Fiscal 2009 fourth quarter and the $.02 per share benefit from unanticipated tax-related adjustments in the first quarter of Fiscal 2009.

Last year's results included a charge of $.25 per share related to the previously announced computer intrusion(s). Excluding these items, full year Fiscal 2009 adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations are estimated to be in the range of $2.15 to $2.20, an increase of 11% to 14% over the prior year's adjusted $1.93.

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