Low overhead. Lots of traffic.
That’s what TJX Companies looks for when it opens a retail operation and that’s just what the company is finding, whether it is Newport Avenue, Bald Hill Road, or Post Road in Rhode Island or Route 6 in Seekonk, Mass.
The Framingham-based TJX Companies continues to make inroads into the Rhode Island retail market. Its most recent effort was the Nov. 1 opening of a 25,000 square-foot HomeGoods store in the Kingstown Plaza on heavily traveled Post Road in North Kingstown.
HomeGoods replaces an NHD Hardware store that closed this fall.
“We don’t go into expensive mall sites,” said Debbie Weisberg, a HomeGoods spokesperson. “We keep our overhead down and pass that along to the customers. We look for heavy traffic areas.”
It is a formula that TJX Companies is following closely as it rapidly expands in the Ocean State.
“Rhode Island has been a good market for TJX Companies,” said Weisberg. “People there like to get quality and brand names, but they do not want to pay full price.”
The grand opening at HomeGoods came just two weeks after TJX Companies opened an A.J. Wright store on Narragansett Park Drive, off Newport Avenue in East Providence. A.J. Wright is a discount retailer that competes against such retail giants as Wal-Mart and Kmart. HomeGoods — which also operates a store on Route 6 in Seekonk — offers brand name and designer home fashions.
“HomeGoods is filling a void in the home decor marketplace,” said Kathleen Mason, the company’s president. “HomeGoods provides a wide selection of brand name merchandise that can quickly update the home without costing a fortune.”
TJX Companies is also the parent of Marshalls and T.J. Maxx stores. In fact, a T.J. Maxx store is located at the opposite end of Kingstown Plaza from the new HomeGoods store. TJX Companies is the largest off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the United States and worldwide, including 593 T.J. Maxx stores and 464 Marshalls stores. TJX companies recently completed a $250 million stock repurchase program that began last February. A total of 11.2 million common shares were purchased. The company’s board of directors has authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $750 million of common stock.
TJX Companies’ expansion in Rhode Island is welcome news to North Kingstown officials. Just a couple of years ago, the stretch of Post Road that runs through the town was being decimated by one defection or store closing after another. The list of stores to have closed their doors within a short time of one another included Almacs, Grossman’s, L.A. Roberts, and most recently NHD Hardware.
Karla Driscoll, executive director of the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce, said the arrival of HomeGoods is yet another sign that Post Road is rebounding nicely from some tough times.
“If you look at Post Road two years ago — when Grossman’s and Almacs moved out — there was a lot of concern about what was going to happen,” said Driscoll. “But the post office has replaced Almacs, JT Lumber has replaced Grossman’s, and we’ve added Washington Trust, Brooks, Chopmist Charlie’s and more. These are good examples of reinvestment on Post Road.”
Marilyn Cohen, North Kingstown’s director of planning, believes that several factors are contributing to the increase in commercial activity on Post Road.
“Some of the changes have been part of the cyclical economy,” said Cohen. “Some of it has been the result of reinvestment due to the expected expansion and development at Quonset Point. And part of it is the continued growth of North Kingstown.”