Top off-price retailer The TJX Companies Inc has reported first-quarter sales and earnings below expectations partly due to unseasonable weather in a number of key trading regions.

First-quarter net sales rose 9 per cent to $3.7 billion compared to last year's first quarter, while same-store sales grew 3 per cent, compared to an increase of 8 per cent a year ago.

Net income totalled $149 million while diluted earnings per share were $.30 compared to $.32 last year.

Edmond English, president and chief executive officer The TJX Companies Inc, said that the company expected a difficult quarter as it was up against its most difficult comparison of the year, "given last year's extremely strong comparable store sales and margin performance."

English added: "As we enter the second quarter, I am encouraged by our business prospects. Our open-to-buy position is in even better shape than at this time last year, giving us the continued ability to navigate through the marketplace".

The TJX Companies Inc is the leading off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the US and worldwide. The company operates 773 TJ Maxx, 699 Marshalls, 220 HomeGoods, and 137 AJ Wright stores, as well as 34 Bob's Stores, in the US. The In Canada, the Company operates 169 Winners and 44 HomeSense stores, and in Europe, 175 TK Maxx stores.