(Adds CEO, analyst comment; updates share price)
Nov 14 (Reuters) - TJX Cos Inc disappointed Wall Street, posting its worst quarterly same-store sales performance since 2009, as its fashion apparel failed to click with customers and fewer people bought winter clothes in an unusually hot fall season.
Shares of the off-price retailer, which also issued a full-year profit forecast that were below estimates, were down 4.7 percent at $67.38 in afternoon trading on Tuesday.
The news took investors by surprise as the company has been holding up well in the face of a broader slowdown in business for brick-and-mortar retailers such as Macy’s and Nordstrom.
“It was absolutely a fashion miss ... This was, really, on our own part a selection issue and had nothing to do with availability out there,” Chief Executive Ernie Herrman said, adding that a bulk of the fashion missteps would be fixed in the holiday quarter.
The company said same-store sales for the third quarter were flat despite higher traffic at its stores across divisions. Analysts had expected a 2.2 percent rise in same-store sales, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“Investor concerns have been heightened on near-term worries, including warmer weather, hurricanes and peer liquidation sales,” RBC analyst Brian Tunick wrote in a note.
Comparable-store sales in Marmaxx, the company’s biggest and most profitable unit which includes T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores, fell 1 percent, surprising analysts who were expecting a 1.4 percent rise.
The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company, however, said it would hit the higher end of its fiscal 2018 adjusted profit forecast of $3.91 to $3.93 per share.
“The reiterated full-year guidance at the upper-end gives us confidence that TJX enters holiday on a clean slate and is demonstrating a return to positive comparable store sales,” MKM Partners analyst Roxanne Meyer wrote in a note.
TJX said it expects holiday-quarter same-store sales growth of 1 to 2 percent. Overall sales rose 6 percent to $8.8 billion in the third quarter, slightly below the $8.86 billion average estimate.
Net income rose to $641.44 million, or $1 per share in the quarter ended Oct. 28, from $550 million, or 83 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1 per share, in-line with analysts’ estimates. (Reporting by Gayathree Ganesan in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Patrick Graham)
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