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TJX closing A.J. Wright brand, cutting 4,400 jobs

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TJX Cos. says it plans to close its A.J. Wright discount stores by mid-February, cutting 4,400 jobs and converting some stores to other brands such as T.J. Maxx.

Ninety-one stores will be converted into T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or HomeGoods stores, and 71 will close entirely, along with two distribution centers. About 3,400 staffers will remain employed at the converted stores.

TJX said the move allows the company, based in Framingham, Mass., to focus on its more profitable businesses. Most positions are part time.

The chain has four stores in Indianapolis – at 53rd Street and Keystone Avenue, on South East Street at Southern Plaza, on Crawfordsville Road in Speedway, and along East 10th Street in the Linwood Square shopping center. The Indianapolis stores are not on a list of stores slated for closures, which means they will likely be converted into other TJX stores.

"All associates will have the opportunity to be compensated through the holiday season, and about half of the positions will be retained through late January," CEO Carol Meyrowitz said.

All 162 A.J. Wright stores will close by mid-February. And 91 will reopen under a different name after eight weeks.

After the cuts TJX will have about 150,000 staffers. As of December, the company operated 924 T.J. Maxx stores, 832 Marshalls and 36 HomeGoods in addition to the 162 A.J. Wright stores.

The company said it will cost $150 million to $170 million to close the stores and $12 million to $15 million for the store conversions.

TJX launched A.J. Wright in 1998 as a discount store brand similar to T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, selling clothing, home decor, shoes and other items, but it never performed quite as well as its sibling stores. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have benefitted as shoppers hunt for bargains due to high unemployment and the uncertain economy.

But A.J. Wright stores offered even lower-priced products than T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, and that turned out to be not as appealing to shoppers.

During the company's most recent quarter, revenue in stores open at least one year rose 1 percent at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, rose 3 percent at HomeGoods and fell 2 percent at A.J. Wright stores.

As a result, the company will take a charge of 27 cents to 30 cents per share in the fourth quarter and 14 cents to 17 cents, in total, per share in the first quarter of its next year.

Therefore, the company expects net income of 62 cents to 64 cents per share in the fourth quarter and $3.08 to $3.10 per share for the year including the charge.

Excluding the costs, it expects fourth-quarter net income of 89 cents to 94 cents per share for the fourth quarter and $3.35 to $3.40 for the year.

Analysts expect net income of 93 cents for the quarter and $3.38 per share for the year. Analyst estimates typically exclude onetime items.

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  • Ignorance
    The post by Julie is ignorant. I'm neither poor nor stupid and I shop there. I'm a single mom, with a five year old son. I work hard and send my child to private school so yeah, I'm a little thrifty. Oh, and when I'm done at A.J. Wright I go across the street to Aldi... does that make me poor? No. It makes me smart for not wasting my money.
  • Wonder of wonders
    Just checked the Columbus (OH) Dispatch website and the store in "Whitehall" - the one on East Broad Street is slated to close. I was fearing for my life in that store.... The 53rd and Keystone store is like Rodeo Drive, compared to that one. :)
  • Too bad
    Too bad that they let the brand slip. Yes they did put a few of them in not so good locations but TJX management allowed AJW stores to slip.

    The stores used to pride themselves in what they carried. They had a nice Big and Tall (men) and Plus Size for women and AWESOME team wear (including hard to find vintage sportswear - throwback jerseys)but then about 4 years ago, the stores started getting in junk. AND 80% of the men's clothing was Urban - and that is one reason that they failed - they started really only catering to one social class.

    Yep the 53rd and Keystone store is not clean and many of the folks not helpful BUT there is a store on Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio that is 100x (1000x?) times worse!
    • Dear Julie
      Julie Knox: While I agree with you on the AJ Wright - the store is messy, rude employees, ect. Calling the surrounding area ghetto is completely ignorant on your part. Have you actually run demographics on the surrounding neighborhoods? I live in that neighborhood and an active member of the neighborhood association. In the six years I've owned my home I've seen only positive changes occurring. There are many rental homes that have been fixed up and sold to owners who live in them. We have many young families and young professionals now as well. We are probably one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city. It may not be Fishers or Carmel (where I would never live), but it's a neighborhood I'm proud to live in.
    • ATTN SNOBS
      I agree that the 53rd and Keystone store is kinda messy and the EMPLOYEES ARE RUDE, but I love shopping there! It seems like these are fixable problems...clean up and hire employees that appreciate having jobs, not just give up on the stores! I have been to TJMaxx and Marshalls and the only real difference is that the prices are much higher and the selection is smaller...@ Julie Knox; just because people do not have a lot of money to shop does not make them "poor" or "stupid" if you don't like shopping in the "ghetto" then go shop elsewhere!! I personally LOVE shopping there and I am neither poor or stupid!!!!!!!
    • Good idea!
      I agree with the last post on this story. You can find better quality merchandise at thrift stores! The whole scene at A.J.Wright just screams HI. WE KNOW YOU'RE POOR AND STUPID, AND YOU WILL THINK THERE ARE GREAT BARGAINS TO BE HAD HERE! In Indianapolis, at the 52nd/Keystone store, the place has turned into a "ghetto" due to surrounding neighborhood demographics - used to be a NICE shopping center until the 1990's! The store itself is a mess, the employees don't care AT ALL, and yes, MOST items can be purchased elsewhere - especially TJX or Marshall's for maybe a few dollars more. What the hell was this company thinking even opening this "type" of store. At least "Dollar General", etc...is what it IS! Been to Goodwill lately? Betcha the thrift shoppers would agree that A.J. Wright is a waste of retail space! Good riddance - although if TJX goes into the store I mentioned above, we will likely refer to that as the "ghetto TJX" in Indianapolis. Great. Another addition to "obvious Poorville" in Indy. You'll need mace and a gun to shop there!
      • Won't Miss Them
        I won't be sorry to see these stores close. I visited one store one time and it was easy to see that they were selling junk.

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