* Lowers top-end of profit outlook to $3.17/share from $3.19
* First-quarter earnings $0.64/share vs est. $0.67
* Sales $6.49 bln vs est. $6.60 bln
* Shares fall as much as 7.5 pct (Adds full-year forecast, background, shares)
May 20 (Reuters) - TJX Cos Inc, the owner of off-price chains TJ Maxx and Marshalls, cut the top-end of its full-year earnings outlook after reporting lower-than-expected comparable store sales due to weak demand for apparel.
Shares of TJX fell as much as 7.5 percent in late morning trading.
The off-price retailer sells apparel and home furnishings that are priced 20-60 percent lower than those of departmental store operators. This has been a big draw for price-conscious consumers struggling in a weak job market and has helped the company take market share from department store operators.
But a pullback in consumer spending and an increasing shift towards spending on electronics has seen apparel take a backseat on shopping lists.
Teen apparel retailer Urban Outfitters Inc on Monday reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit.
TJX, which runs more than 3,250 stores, reported a 1 percent rise in same-store sales in the first quarter ended May 3. Analysts on average had expected growth of 2.6 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“... Sales were not as strong as we would have liked, predominantly in our apparel business ...,” Chief Executive Carol Meyrowitz said in a statement.
TJX lowered the top-end of its full-year earnings outlook to $3.17 per share from $3.19. The low-end of the forecast remained unchanged at $3.05.
Analysts were expecting a profit of $3.19 per share.
TJX’s net sales rose 4.9 percent to $6.49 billion in the first quarter, but fell short of the average analyst estimate of $6.60 billion.
Net income climbed to $454.3 million, or 64 cents per share, from $452.9 million, or 62 cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts had expected a profit of 67 cents per share.
U.S.-based TJX, which also operates in Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany and Poland, said the profit was hurt due to foreign currency exchange rates.
TJX’s shares, which have risen about 14 percent in the last year, were down 6.6 percent at $54.53. They touched a low of $54.02. (Reporting by Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D‘Souza and Maju Samuel)