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TJX to close discount retailer A.J. Wright, cut 4,400 jobs

Friday, December 10, 2010 | 1:54 p.m. CST

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — TJX Cos. says it is shuttering its A.J. Wright discount stores, cutting 4,400 jobs and converting some of the stores to other brands such as T.J. Maxx.

Ninety-one stores will be converted into T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or HomeGoods stores, and 71 will be closed entirely, along with two distribution centers. About 3,400 staffers will remain employed at the converted stores.

TJX said the move allows the company, based in Framingham, Mass., to focus on its more profitable businesses.

All 162 A.J. Wright stores will close by mid-February. And 91 will reopen under a different name after eight weeks.

The company said it will cost $150 million to $170 million to close the stores and $12 million to $15 million for the store conversions.

TJX launched A.J. Wright in 1998 as a discount store brand similar to T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, selling clothing, home decor, shoes and other items, but it never performed quite as well as its sibling stores. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have benefited as shoppers hunt for bargains due to high unemployment and the uncertain economy.

During the company's most recent quarter, revenue in stores open at least one year rose 1 percent at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, rose 3 percent at HomeGoods and fell 2 percent at A.J. Wright stores.

As a result, the company will take a charge of 27 cents to 30 cents per share in the fourth quarter and 14 cents to 17 cents, in total, per share in the first quarter of its next year.

Therefore, the company expects net income of 62 cents to 64 cents per share in the fourth quarter and $3.08 to $3.10 per share for the year including the charge.

Excluding the costs, it expects fourth-quarter net income of 89 cents to 94 cents per share for the fourth quarter and $3.35 to $3.40 for the year.

Analysts expect net income of 93 cents for the quarter and $3.38 per share for the year. Analyst estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Shares fell 15 cents to $44.81 during the morning.


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