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Comps moderate at TJX and Ross

Same store sale decelerated for The TJX Companies and Ross Stores during January even though both companies increased their full year profits forecasts.

TJX, operator of Marshalls and T.J. Maxx stores, said comps increased 3% during the period ended January 28. That figure was better than expected, but less than half the prior year gain of 7%. Sales for the five week period ended February 2 increased nearly 36% to $1.9 billion due to the inclusion of an additional week.

Comps for the quarter increased 4% and for the year were up 7%. Sales for the 53 week fiscal year increased 12% to $25.9 billion.

"Customer traffic once again drove this month’s comp increases across the board, as consumers continue to be drawn to our great values on great fashions and brands," said CEO Carol Meyrowitz. "As we begin a new fiscal year and transition into spring, our merchandise mix is extremely fresh and we are confident we will continue to attract more U.S. and international customers with our tremendous values."

TJX did not provide sales guidance for the coming year.

Ross Stores said same store sales increased 4% for the four week period ended January 28 while sales total sales for the five week period ended February 2 increased 39% to $672 million, due to the inclusion of the additional week. For the quarter ended January 28, same stores sales increased 5% while sales for the 14 week period ended February 2, increased 15% to a little less than $2.8 billion.

Results for the month and quarter were better than the company expected as the company continues to drive solid revenue growth by offering terrific assortments of compelling name brand bargains that resonate with today’s value-focused consumers, according to vice chairman and CEO Michael Balmuth.

"We are extremely pleased with our outstanding sales and estimated earnings growth for 2012 that continues to be driven by the strong execution of our off-price business strategies," Balmuth said. "Looking ahead, we believe our initial guidance for 2013 reflects respectable increases in both comparable store sales and earnings per share on top of exceptional gains over the past several years."

The company is forecasting a moderation of same store sales growth during the coming year with an increase in the range of 1% to 2%, following gains the prior two years of 6% and 5%. Full year earnings are expected to range from $3.65 to $3.80.