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TJX Cos. key rev. figure rises 6 pct in December

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) -- TJX, the parent company of TJ Maxx and Marshalls clothing stores, said Thursday that its December revenue at stores open at least a year rose 6 percent, and it boosted its profit outlook for the current quarter and full year.

The growth exceeded Wall Street predictions. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a 2.3 percent increase. The metric is a key measure of a retailer's health, because it excludes revenue at stores that recently opened or closed.

For the five-week period ended Dec. 29, the Framingham, Mass.-based discount retailer said its total sales rose 10 percent to $3.6 billion.

For the first 48 weeks of the year, TJX said its revenue at stores open at least a year increased 7 percent, while total sales rose 10 percent to $23.9 billion.

TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz said the December results got a boost from an increase in the number of customers that visited the company's stores.

Citing strong December sales and profitability, the company said it now expects to post a fourth-quarter profit of 77 cents or 78 cents per share, up from its previous prediction of 72 cents to 75 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expect earnings of 76 cents per share.

For the full year, TJX raised its profit prediction to a range of $2.50 or $2.51 per share. It previously projected a profit of $2.45 to $2.48 per share. Analysts expect $2.50 per share.

TJX runs 1,039 T.J. Maxx, 912 Marshalls, and 416 HomeGoods stores in the U.S.; 222 Winners, 88 HomeSense, and 14 Marshalls stores in Canada and 344 T.K. Maxx and 24 HomeSense stores in Europe.

TJX Cos. Inc. shares rose $1.45, or 3.3 percent, to $44.62 in afternoon trading.