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Thousands More Stores on the Way for TJX

Fresh on the heels of a 7 percent rise in comparable store sales in the first quarter, TJX Companies announced some aggressive expansion plans.

The Framingham, Massachusetts-based operator of T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s and Home Goods opened 47 stores in the first three months of the year, ending April with a total of 3,661 locations. On a conference call with investors Tuesday, the retailer said it will open about 150 more this fiscal year.

With no store closings planned, that would be a growth rate of 5 percent.

“We are confident that we can continue to open stores around the world and capitalize on first mover advantages,” Ernie Herrman, chief executive officer and president, stated.

In fact, TJX said it sees the potential to grow its store count to 5,600 locations, long term, with just its current chains and in current markets alone.

“This represents more than 50 percent store growth or almost 2,000 additional stores on top of our current base,” Herrman added.

And that’s not all.

“We believe significant opportunity exists beyond this,” Herrman continued. “To reiterate, our estimates do not contemplate the potential to expand into additional countries or open new chains in existing markets.”

Given TJX’s performance last quarter, this planned expansion is hardly surprising. Net sales rose 10 percent in the first quarter, from $6.87 billion to $7.5 billion, while diluted earnings per share (EPS) increased 10 percent from $0.69 to $0.76, or $508 million. The company has raised its full-year guidance to between $3.35 and $3.42 diluted EPS.