• Q1 profit down 19.7% to $266m
  • Net sales increased 4% to $5.2bn
  • Same-store sales rose 2% 

The cost of shuttering its AJ Wright clothing chain continues to weigh on off-price retailer The TJX Companies, which saw its first quarter profit fall 19.7%.

The Framingham, Massachusetts based firm said net income fell to $266m, or $0.67 per share in the three months to 30 April, down from $331.4m, or $0.80 per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned $0.78 per share.

Net sales for the quarter increased 4% to $5.2bn and same-store sales increased 2% over last year's rise of 9%.

"We delivered strong sales results in the face of our most challenging year-over-year comparisons of any quarter this year," noted CEO Carol Meyrowitz.

"Customer traffic continues to be up over significant prior-year increases, which reinforces to us that value remains top-of-mind for consumers regardless of the economic environment.

She added: "Sales trends picked up as we exited the quarter, May is off to a strong start, and earnings comparisons ease as we move through the balance of the year. We remain extremely confident in our ability to profitably grow our business."

The company, which operates the TJ Maxx and Marshalls stores, said it expects second quarter earnings to rise to $0.81 to $0.86 per share, compared with $.74 per share last year, with comparable store sales growth of 1% to 3%.

For the full year, it sees earnings per share in the range of $3.70 to $3.82, compared with $3.30 a year earlier, and same-store sales up 1% to 2%.