• Q4 profit jumped 27% to $605m 
  • Sales increased 15% to $7.7bn
  • Gross margin rose 1.4 percentage points to 28.6%

Off-price retailer The TJX Companies has seen its fourth-quarter profit jump 27% after increased consumer traffic led to a rise in sales.

The company, which operates the Marshalls and TJ Maxx chains, reported net income of US$605m during the 13 weeks to 2 February, up from $475m last year.

Net sales increased 15% to $7.7bn over $6.71bn the prior year. Comparable store sales climbed 4%, marking the retailer's fourth consecutive year of very strong sales growth. Gross margin rose 1.4 percentage points to 28.6%.

Meanwhile, full-year income increased 27% to $1.9bn against $1.5bn last year. Net sales rose 12% to $25.9bn against $23.19bn the year before, while comparable store sales were up 7%.

Looking forward, TJX Companies expects fiscal 2014 diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $2.66-$2.78, while fiscal 2014 first-quarter diluted earnings per share are forecast to be between $0.59 and $0.62.

"In fiscal 2014, we plan to continue to make investments to support our growth while returning excess cash to shareholders," said CEO Carol Meyrowitz.

"Our capital spending plan includes investments in our supply chain and infrastructure, new stores, store remodels and e-commerce initiatives. Simultaneously, we plan to continue our large share buyback program, with $1.3bn to $1.4bn of repurchases planned for fiscal 2014, and to significantly increase our regular quarterly dividend. All of this underscores our confidence in our ability to continue to deliver significant increases in sales, earnings, and cash flow, and generate superior financial returns."