TJX to Close A.J. Wright Division and Shut 71 Stores by February 2011

The TJX Companies plans to close its A.J. Wright division, converting 91 stores into T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or HomeGoods stores and shutting the remaining 71 locations, its home office and two distribution centers by February 2011. The company estimates costs of $150 to $170 million and a loss of 4,400 employee positions from these moves.

A.J. Wright launched in 1998 and offers off-price family apparel, home furnishings and other merchandise. According to the TJX website, A.J. Wright's prices are 20% to 70% below regular prices at national discount chains and budget department stores.

In a statement, TJX president and CEO Carol Meyrowitz said the consolidation and store closings "will allow us to focus our financial and managerial resources on our highest return businesses, all of which have significant growth opportunities, as well as to significantly improve the economic prospects of our business.

"Over the past two years, we have learned how to serve the A.J. Wright customer with our T.J. Maxx and Marshalls banners and have seen very strong performance from these stores in demographic markets similar to those in which we have A.J. Wright stores," she added. "We believe these markets represent an incremental growth opportunity for our Marmaxx division, and that this business now has the potential for 2,300-2,400 stores, 300-400 more than we had previously estimated."

Both the conversions and store closings will begin in late January; TJX estimates conversions will take about eight weeks. While the company has identified the 91 stores that will be closed, it has not yet announced which banner each store will emerge under.
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