stock sank 8.4% in Wednesday premarket trading after the off-price retailer reported fourth quarter profit and sales that missed expectations. Net income totaled $940.2 million, or 78 cents per share, up from $325.5 million, or 27 cents per share, last year. Sales of $13.854 billion were up from $10.943 billion. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of 91 cents and sales of $14.218 billion. TJX chains include TJ Maxx and HomeGoods. Fourth quarter open-only comp sales grew 10%, with U.S. open-only comp sales up 13%. Open-only comp sales measures stores that were also open on the same days in 2020. “Fourth quarter sales were trending higher before the surges in omicron,” said Chief Executive Ernie Herrman in a statement. Incremental freight expense was higher than expected, driving down merchandise margins more than expected. TJX’s board has authorized a new $3 billion share repurchase program, which represents 4% of outstanding shares. For the first quarter TJX is guiding for EPS in the range of 58 cents to 61 cents. The FactSet consensus is for EPS of 59 cents. TJX stock is down 7.1% over the past year while the S&P 500 index
has gained nearly 11%.