TJX Companies began in Boston, Mass. as the New England Trading Company, founded by brothers Max and Morris Feldberg. Ten years later, the brothers shifted their focused and opened their first retail store, which was devoted to selling ladies hosiery. Twenty years after that, their business had grown into a chain of women’s apparel stores that stretched from New England to Washington, DC.
Throughout the years, the company evolved from Zayre Stores, which offered convenience, selection, and value for the whole family, to TJ Maxx in the 1970s, which continues to offer off-price apparel and home fashions.
The company also expanded with acquisitions. In 1969, it acquired Hit or Miss, an off-price women’s specialty apparel chain, and in 1984, Zayre introduced warehouse retail concept BJ’s Wholesale Club. In 1988, the company underwent a major restructuring when it sold the Zayre stores chain to Ames Department Stores, and BJ’s Wholesale Club was spun off to shareholders under the name Waban.
At the same time, the company repurchased outstanding minority interest in TJ Maxx, Hit or Miss, and Chadwick’s of Boston and changed its name to The TJX Companies. In 1990, it acquired Winners Apparel of Canada and, two years later, launched HomeGoods in the US. In 1994, it launched TK Maxx in the UK and Ireland, and the chain has since become Europe’s largest off-price retailer.
In 1995, TJX acquired Marshalls, the US’s second largest off-price retailer. Together, TJ Maxx and Marshalls operated more than 1,000 stores worldwide. The move prompted the company to sell Hit or Miss and, in 2003, it acquired Bob’s Stores, a 31-store value-oriented retailer of casual family apparel and footwear, which it sold off in 2008.
In 2010, TJX announced its decision to bring Marshalls to Canada, with its first stores planned to open in spring 2011. The results have been positive already, as Carol Meyrowitz, CEO of The TJX Companies, Inc., stated in the company’s latest fiscal report. “I am very proud of our results in 2010 as consolidated comparable store sales increased 4% on top of a 6% increase last year and our bottom line grew substantially over extraordinary growth in the prior year.”
Meyrowitz said she is also proud of the company’s ability to grow its revenues and earnings year after year despite economic downturns and upturns. “This speaks to the extraordinary flexibility of our off-price business model and our ability to successfully utilize that flexibility to our advantage. Providing great value to our customers on fabulous brands and fashions is our mission and we focus each day on the best ways of delivering that value.
“We are running our business with lean, fast-turning inventories, which, in 2010, again led to even stronger merchandise margins,” Meyrowitz continued. “This, combined with our continued cost reduction initiatives, helped drive large increases in profitability. We see a great deal of further opportunity in all of these areas and others to drive sales and profits in 2011 and beyond.”