The TJX Companies, Inc. reported that first quarter sales at Bob's Stores were $61.4 million and posteds operating earnings of $1.25 million at the 31-door unut acquired last last year after a hard bidding process with Dick's SG and their partners. No results were reported for the year-ago period.

TJX said that Bob's Stores' first quarter results were in line with expectations. They said Bob's, which was acquired in December 2003, has made “significant improvements in its inventory management and flow practices”, resulting in a fresher merchandise assortment in ther stores.

The company reitereated its plan to grow the Bob's business slowly and deliberately as they refine the concept. Long term, TJX sees the Bob's concept expanding to 400 stores in the U.S.

Total TJX net sales for Q1 were up 20.2% to $3.4 billion and consolidated comparable store sales increased 8% over the prior year.

Diluted earnings per share increased 50% to 33 cetns per share in the first quarter, over 22 cents per share in the prior year. Net income was $168 million, a 48% increase over the $114 million earned last year.