When I looked at last quarter's results, the expectation was for flat year-over-year earnings for 2005. Well, that projection was based on having the final quarter of the year chip in 1% to 2% same-store sales growth. While it is too early to say that earnings for the critical fourth quarter will be light, it is fair to say that the start out of the gate was a slow one.
Also starting slow were competitors Kohl's
That's not to say it's all doom and gloom for retailers. Target
TJX's stock trades at 17.7 times trailing earnings. I'd say that's a tad rich for a company that is expected to grow earnings 14% a year for the next five years. But with a trailing return on equity of 40.3% (which greatly outpaces that of its rivals), the company has proved that it knows how to make a buck.
What's the bottom line? Same-store sales reflect the underlying strength of a retail operation. For the past two quarters, TJX has posted negative growth in this key metric. If this trend continues, I'd conjecture that investors can expect the stock to make little if any upward progress.
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