TJ Maxx And Marshalls Are Doing Great Because Bargain-Hunting Thrills People

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

For people who enjoy it, bargain-hunting combines all of the primal fun of hunting with no threat of being trampled by an antelope. That’s why, amid recent fretting that American department stores and malls are doomed, there remains a bright spot in the retail business. TJX, parent company of off-price stores T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods, reported better-than-expected results this quarter, unlike its department store competitors.

It isn’t just residual frugality from the Great Recession that’s sending shoppers to off-price stores. That explains why department stores from Lord & Taylor to Macy’s to Kohl’s are rushing to open their own outlets or off-price shops.

“Constantly changing assortment, the excitement of finding a bargain, and the sense of urgency associated with having to secure a product before it is sold out, all give consumers a reason to regularly visit shops,” the chief executive of Conlumino, a consumer research firm, explained in a note. While regular department stores might have constantly changing sales, they don’t offer the opportunity to maybe find a designer item at a low, low price.

Sure, what off-price stores actually offer are lower-quality merchandise made for that market and “original” prices with no basis in reality. The free market, however, has spoken, and sales are up in off-price stores while department and specialty clothing stores flail.

T.J. Maxx owner raises forecast as shoppers hunt for bargains [Reuters]