Last year, when Ben Cammarata stepped into the acting CEO role at TJX (NYSE:TJX), he made it clear that expansion at the company's smaller growth concepts such as HomeGoods, HomeSense, Winners, AJ Wright, and Bob's Stores would slow until the company got each concept firing on all cylinders. This month's same-store-sales data from the company give reason to believe that things are heading in the right direction at TJX.

Overall sales, which include new store openings that are not included in comparable-store sales, were up 9% to $1.6 billion for the five-week June reporting period. On its sales call, the company provided the comparable-store-sales numbers for each of the different concepts as follows:

  • Marmaxx (Marshall's and TJ Maxx) up 2%, versus a 4% increase last year.
  • HomeGoods comps up 8%.
  • Winners and HomeSense (Canada) up 17% in U.S. dollars -- in local currency, up 5%
  • TK Maxx (U.K.) up 11% -- in local currency, up 9%
  • AJ Wright comps down 2%, versus a 5% increase last year
  • Bob's Stores up 4%

The good news here is that HomeGoods, Winners, HomeSense, TK Maxx, and Bob's Stores all performed well. The Marmaxx group came in where the company expected, and AJ Wright still has kinks to work out. Along with Bob's Stores, AJ Wright is the business that concerns this investor most. It's important to note that the local-currency numbers above are more representative of sales increases at the U.K. and Canadian concepts.

Some of the competitors that TJX lines up against also reported strong comparable-store-sales numbers, with Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) reporting a 5% increase and Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) a 7.1% gain. However, Stein Mart (NASDAQ:SMRT) managed only a 0.9% same-store-sales increase and is still negative for the year.

The other two bright spots in the company's comparable-store-sales announcement are that inventories in stores and committed to purchase are lower than they were at this point last year, and that the company now believes earnings per share will be at the high end of, or even slightly above, the previously provided $0.24-to-$0.26 range.

When TJX reports its quarterly results a little more than a month from now, it will be interesting to see whether July sales stayed strong. Having recommended TJX in our Blue Chip Report for 2005, I'm happy to see the company coming around. I find the valuation to be slightly more attractive than it was a year ago, when the recommendation was first made. With valuation in mind, it will also be interesting to see how many shares the company repurchased through the first half of the year.

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At the time of publication, Nathan Parmelee had no interest in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.