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Hackers Break Into TJX's Bottom Line




Hackers Break Into TJX's Bottom Line
Hackers Break Into TJX's Bottom Line



http://www.forbes.com/markets/2007/08/14/tjx-retail-update-markets-equity-cx_jl_0814markets31.html 

By Joshua Lipton
Forbes.com
08.14.07

TJX has learned the hard way that hackers can cause damage to both a 
company's sense of security and its balance sheet.

TJX, which operates discount stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, told 
traders Tuesday morning that its profit was severely undercut as it 
absorbed a $118 million charge that resulted from a dramatic breach of 
customer data.

For the second-quarter ended July 28, the company said its net income 
fell 57.3%, from $59 million, or 13 cents per share, versus $138.2 
million, or 29 cents per share, for the year-ago period.

The after-tax charge for the data breach totaled $118 million, or 25 
cents per share. That charge includes $11 million, or 2 cents per share, 
for costs incurred during quarter as well as $107 million, or 23 cents 
per share, for the company's exposure to potential losses.

Excluding this charge, adjusted diluted earnings per share from 
continuing operations for the quarter were 38 cents versus 29 cents for 
the prior year, a 31% increase.

Analysts had expected a profit of 37 cents per share.

TJX first reported the breach back in January. Three months later, the 
company said that the damage done by a computer hacker resulted in an 
even greater loss of customer credit information that initially 
suspected.

The company revealed that at least 45.7 million credit and debit card 
number were stolen over an 18-month period. TJX also said that another 
455,000 customer who returned merchandise without receipts had their 
personal data stolen, including driver's license numbers. (See: "TJX 
Reveals Extent Of Hacker Damage.")

In afternoon trading, shares of TJX were up 0.4%, or 11 cents, to 
$27.77.

Still, despite the unfortunate news about the security breach and 
accompanying financial costs, the company posted some solid sales, which 
climbed 9% to $4.31 billion. Total sales at stores open at least a year 
increased 5%.

TJX told traders it's looking to post a profit for its full fiscal year 
of $1.84 to $1.88 per share. That's up from its previous projection of 
$1.80 to $1.85 per share. The estimates don't include data breach costs.

Wall Street had forecast a profit of $1.86 per share.

TJX predicts a third-quarter profit of 53 cents per share to 55 cents 
per share. Analysts are guiding for a profit of 55 cents per share.

Standard & Poor's analyst Jason Asaeda maintained a "Buy" recommendation 
on shares of TJX.

"We think TJX's compelling value proposition across brands, supported by 
higher marketing spend, along with its ample off-price buying 
opportunities in both apparel and home fashions, as positioning the 
company well to weather a tough retail environment," Asaeda said. He 
raised his 2008 operating EPS estimate 3 cents to $1.90 and reiterated 
his 12-month target price of $31.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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