THE TJX COMPANIES

TJX
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T.J. Maxx Parent Opens Up to Online Sales as Pandemic Persists

11/18/2020 | 02:09pm

By Renata Geraldo and Micah Maidenberg

The owner of T.J. Maxx said it would launch an e-commerce platform for its HomeGoods home-and-furniture chain in the second half of 2021, changing course from earlier in the pandemic when it resisted an industrywide push to ramp up online sales.

TJX Cos. Chief Executive Ernie Herrman said customers have been reluctant to return to bricks-and-mortar stores, a trend he expects to continue through the holidays. More than 4,000 T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and other TJX brand stores are open, while about 470 are still temporarily closed, mostly in Europe.

A HomeGoods e-commerce platform would "satisfy our customer base and attract new shoppers," Mr. Herrman told investors on Wednesday. This past May, Mr. Herrman told investors the Framingham, Mass.-based company would "not look to e-commerce as our major leveraging point to get us through Covid and out the other side."

HomeGoods customers prefer to shop in bricks-and-mortar stores, and the company aims to create an online shopping experience that complements and encourages in-store shopping, Mr. Herrman said.

"Not everybody wants to buy their apparel even online," he said. "They don't always want to buy a sofa, a chair, an accessory item. They want to feel the fabric."

Off-price chains like TJX, Burlington Stores Inc. and Ross Stores Inc. have largely avoided e-commerce, preferring to have shoppers comb through stores for discounted goods and changing inventories. In March, Burlington said it would pull the plug on its e-commerce operations, which represented less than 1% of its sales.

TJX said overall sales declined at a slower rate than it expected for the quarter ended Oct. 31. Comparable sales at open stores slid 5%, compared with the 10%-to-20% decline the company had forecast in August.

TJX reported growth in sales of home products, a sector that has fared well during the pandemic. Mr. Herrman also said TJX saw a rise in sales of beauty products and activewear in both its international division and U.S. stores.

The company earned a profit of $866.7 million for the quarter, up from $828.3 million for the year-earlier period. Net sales slipped to $10.12 billion from $10.45 billion.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-18-20 1408ET

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