While several retailers are beating Wall Street's earnings estimates, the actual numbers being reported for the second quarter are pretty dismal. Growth is nonexistent at Target (NYSE:TGT) and Home Depot (NYSE:HD), and their stocks' performance is being driven largely by cost cuts and low expectations. What about a retailer that is actually growing?

Well, look no further. TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX) continues to demonstrate that it has one of the best fundamental stories in retailing. Through its stores T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and others, TJX sells brand-name apparel and other merchandise at prices 20% to 60% below the prices of comparable department stores.

For the second quarter, TJX reported a same-store sales increase of 4% and a net sales increase of 4%. More important, those sales translated into a 31% jump in earnings. The retailer expanded its gross margin to 25.6%, up from 24.3% in the year-ago quarter. Management also kept its operating expenses in check.

Despite the solid earnings report, TJX shares traded down about 3% on the news, although they've since recovered. Apparently, traders were disappointed with TJX beating estimates by only a penny, and the market wasn't too impressed with management's outlook for the rest of the year, either. Management's guidance for the third quarter was $0.62 to $0.68, compared with the consensus estimate of $0.63, while its fourth-quarter guidance was $0.55 to $0.61, compared with the $0.67 consensus estimate.

Foolish investors would be wise to look past the guidance-versus-expectations game and focus on the long-term trends that will continue to help drive TJX's growth.

TJX's business is strong because it sells brand-name merchandise at discounts. More and more consumers are looking for ways to stretch their dollars, and they are no longer willing to pay full price for anything. Even some of the (relatively) value-conscious mall-based stores such as Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) are doing better than their high-priced competitors such as Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF). And the king of cheap, Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT), is performing better than peers such as Target, even if its own results are nothing to brag about.

Until we see a recovery on Main Street, consumers are not likely to revert to their spendthrift ways. That means more shoppers will continue to walk into TJX's stores.

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The Home Depot and Wal-Mart Stores are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rob Plaza doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Home Depot is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.