PE firms Shop at Bob’s

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Off-price retailer TJX Companies Inc (TJX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) sold its Bob's Stores unit to private equity firms Versa Capital Management and Crystal Capital. for an undisclosed sum.

TJX also raised its full year forecast for fiscal 2009 earnings as a result of the sale.

It said the sale is expected to generate cash proceeds of about $23 million, which primarily represents anticipated tax benefits, as well as the proceeds from the sale, partially offset by fees and expenses related to the transaction.

“Our decision to sell the business reflects our vision to grow TJX as a global, off-price company,” TJX Chief Executive Carol Meyrowitz said in a statement on Tuesday.

Bob's is a chain of lower-cost, casual clothing and footwear superstores with about 34 locations in the U.S. Northeast. For the first half of the fiscal year, Bob's posted a loss of nearly $27 million, compared with a loss of $10 million in the same period a year earlier.

TJX will post an after-tax loss from the sale in its fiscal third quarter of about $15 million, or 3 cents per share, which will be reported as a loss from discontinued operations.

The company, which also is home to T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, said it now expects full year earnings per share from continuing operations of $2.30 to $2.35. It previously had forecast earnings per share of $2.26 to $2.31.

Excluding other items, TJX sees full year earnings from continuing operations of $2.19 to $2.24, representing an increase of up to 16 percent from the prior year. (Reporting by Michele Gershberg; editing by Carol Bishopric)