Strategy: TJ Maxx has thrived while other retailers struggle in an evolving shopping industry. We shopped there and saw why. (TJX)

TJ Maxx stores offer a treasure-hunt experience.

TJ Maxx, like many other off-price retailers, is thriving. It has benefited from a disappearing middle class and a love for discounted products.

  • TJ Maxx, like many other off-price retailers, is thriving.
  • Parent company TJX Companies reported on November 20 that comparable sales were up 9% at TJ Maxx and Marshalls in the most recent fiscal quarter.
  • TJ Maxx has benefited from a disappearing middle class, shoppers' love for discounted products and the treasure-hunt experience that it offers, and the fact that most of its stores are located away from enclosed shopping malls.
  • We went to TJ Maxx and saw why it's doing so well.

TJ Maxx is thriving.

TJ Maxx's parent company, TJX Companies, reported on November 20 that comparable sales were up 9% at TJ Maxx and Marshalls in the most recent fiscal quarter. It was the 17th consecutive quarter that customer traffic was up at the stores.

The off-price retailer has been benefiting from a disappearing middle class and a higher demand for budget options — two factors that have been hurting department stores like JCPenney and Sears.

Many shoppers have become accustomed to heavy discounting in the past decade.

"The value-seeking mindset is an interesting one as it is often assumed that it is most prevalent during times of economic difficulty. However, our data shows that it is now an underlying constant in terms of what consumers look for when shopping," Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, wrote in a note to investors in August.

TJ Maxx has also been able to avoid the ill effects of declining foot traffic to shopping malls. Most TJ Maxx stores are located in suburban strip malls rather than enclosed shopping malls, so the discount chain is less likely to be affected by the declining foot traffic that has hurt malls and the retailers that depend on them.

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Like other off-price retailers, TJ Maxx is know for offering a treasure-hunt experience in stores, which is difficult to replicate online.

We recently visited TJ Maxx and saw why the store is doing so well:

I went to TJ Maxx in Manhattan's Financial District.

At the front of the store was a table with makeup and beauty products. I didn't recognize any of the brand names.

The displays in the front of the store had signs reading "high end designers without the high prices."

The women's clothing was to the right of the entrance. Shopping at TJ Maxx generally feels like a treasure hunt.

All of the different styles and brands the stores offer are mixed in together, so you never know what you might find.

The beauty products were next to the women's clothing. This section was also set up to be a bit of a treasure hunt.

It's very different from shopping for makeup at any other store because nothing is organized by brand.

TJ Maxx carries perfumes from brands like Bvlgari and Marc Jacobs. Most designer perfumes are priced under $75.

There were tons of designer handbags for under $50 as well.

The men's clothing was set up very similarly to the women's clothing.

On top of the already low prices, there's a clearance section with men's and women's clothing and accessories.

TJ Maxx had a big toy section on the first floor. It was a bit of a mess, but it carried a big variety of products.

Behind the toys were shoes. TJ Maxx carries brands like Nike, Adidas, Ugg, and Sperry at discounted prices.

Downstairs was even more of a treasure hunt. I found everything you might need to stock a kitchen …

… and a lot of random home products.

It was also filled with holiday decor and seasonal products when I visited.

TJ Maxx had a few aisles with coffee, tea, snacks, supplements, and spices. Almost everything cost less than $10.

There were more snacks and chocolates by the register as well. The lines were short, but there were a lot of people there shopping. TJ Maxx accepts returns on purchases for up to 30 days with a receipt.

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Source: TJ Maxx

TJ Maxx is inexpensive to shop at, and it's set up in such a way that you never knew what you might find. It's clear why it's so popular with today's shoppers.


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