Once again TJX has posted earnings that are the envy of the retail sector.

The parent of off-price chains T.J. Maxx and Marshalls reported net income of $562.17 million, up from $549.34 million a year earlier, on sales of $7.9 billion. Same-store sales rose 4%, above the 3.5% increase that analysts expected.

A positive earnings statement like that had us wondering just what is it about TJX that is driving the performance. Is it a function of the increasing popularity of off-price retail in general?  Or is it something specific about TJX’s stores?

The answer, as it turns out, is a little bit of both.

Here’s a little of what Checkout Tracking data says about the off-price channel:

  • Both T.J. Maxx and Marshalls saw increases of more than 4 percent in their share of total off-price buyers who bought at their stores in the most-recent six-month period. By comparison, Ross Dress for Less, a rival off-price retailer, also saw an increase …but of less than 3 percent.
  • Among off-price apparel buyers, the numbers were slightly different. Ross and T.J. Maxx both saw increases of more than 3 percent. Marshalls’ numbers also rose, but only by 2.5 percent.
  • Most interestingly, there seems to be little loyalty among consumers to specific off-price retailers. T.J. Maxx buyers gave T.J. Maxx 4% of their apparel wallet, while giving 3 percent to Marshalls and 2 percent to Ross. Marshalls buyers give 5 percent of their apparel wallet to that retailer, while giving 3 percent to T.J. Maxx and 2 percent to Ross. Nordstrom Rack buyers give 5 percent of their apparel spend to that chain, while giving 3 percent each to T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.

In summary, off-price buyers are loyal to the idea of off-price shopping. And such buyers are increasing in number. But the growth appears to be widely distributed across the universe of off-price retailers.

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