by Brian Lipton

TJXLeading off-price retailer TJX Companies, Inc., owner of TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, announced sales and earnings results for the third quarter ended October 29, 2016.

Net sales for the third quarter of Fiscal 2017 increased 7 percent to $8.3 billion. Consolidated comparable store sales increased a strong 5 percent. The TJX Canada group had the strongest increase in comparable store sales of 8 percent, while the European group was flat.

Net income for the third quarter was $550 million, down from $587 million last year. Diluted earnings per share were $0.83 per share, as opposed to $0.86 last year; however, adjusted diluted earnings per share were $0.91.

“We are extremely pleased that our strong momentum in customer traffic and sales continued in the third quarter,” said Ernie Herrman, chief executive officer and president of The TJX Companies, Inc. “We are convinced that we are gaining consumer market share across all of our divisions! Further, our merchandise margin was up strongly. We have numerous initiatives underway to drive customers to our stores this holiday selling season and keep them coming back. We will be offering consumers eclectic gift selections from around the world, all at exciting values, and shipping fresh assortments to our stores right through December and beyond. We remain laser focused on achieving our goals for 2016 and are passionate about surpassing them.”

For the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2017, the company expects diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $0.96 to $0.98 compared to $0.99 last year. This guidance reflects an assumption that wage increases will negatively impact EPS growth by 3 percent and that the combination of foreign currency and transactional foreign exchange will have an additional 6 percent negative impact on EPS growth. It is also based upon estimated consolidated comparable store sales growth of 1 to 2 percent for the year.