The TJX Companies, Inc., which just acquired Sierra Trading Post,  reported consolidated comparable store sales in December increased 6 percent over an 8 percent increase last year. The off-pricer raised its EPS guidance for the fourth quarter.

December 2012 sales results. Sales for the five-week period ended December 29, 2012, were $3.6 billion, up 10% over the $3.3 billion achieved during the five-week period ended December 31, 2011. For the 48-week period ended December 29, 2012, sales reached $23.9 billion, a 10% increase over the $21.8 billion achieved in the same period last year. For the 48-week, year-to-date period, consolidated comparable store sales increased 7% over the same period last year.

Carol Meyrowitz, chief executive officer of The TJX Companies, Inc., stated, I am delighted to see that once again, consumers responded extremely well to our exciting selection of branded, giftable merchandise at excellent values, leading to our December comp sales increase of 6 percent. This comp increase significantly exceeded our expectations and was achieved over an 8 percent increase last year. Our December sales underscore that value remains top of mind for consumers and that our ability to offer extreme values during a promotional holiday selling season continues to be one of our key strengths. Once again, customer traffic drove the comp increases at all divisions for the month and importantly, we are confident that we will keep our new and already loyal customers coming back in the new year and beyond. With strong sales and margins in December, we are raising our outlook for fourth quarter earnings per share to be in the range of $.77-$.78, a 24 percent-26 percent increase over last year. For the full year, we are raising our guidance and now expect earnings per share to be in the range of $2.50-$2.51, representing 20-plus percent growth over last year for our $25 billion-plus company. As we look ahead in 2013 and beyond, we are confident in our continued ability to drive strong growth in our brick-and-mortar business and are excited to see how e-commerce can offer us even greater advantage.

The TJX Companies, Inc. is the leading off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the U.S. and worldwide. The company operates 1,039 T.J. Maxx, 912 Marshalls, 416 HomeGoods and 4 Sierra Trading Post stores as well as in the United States; 222 Winners, 88 HomeSense, and 14 Marshalls stores in Canada; and 344 T.K. Maxx and 24 HomeSense stores in Europe.