Marshalls opens its first online store

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Marshalls has more than 1,000 US stores and a healthy business selling a variety of big-name clothing brands for men and women, home goods, accessories and beauty products. The discount retailer has done just fine without an online store, but now is finally launching one.

On Tuesday, Marshalls announced that its new website will have an “ever-changing, fresh mix of merchandise” that mimics its famous in-store treasure hunt experience. Returns can also be made online or at its stores.

Marshalls is owned by TJX Companies, which also operates HomeGoods and T.J. Maxx. The latter has had an online store for several years.

Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, told CNN Business that an online store for Marshalls was likely low on TJX’s list because it was focused on expanding its profitable physical locations. Online shopping, however, is a resource that it needed to tap into eventually, he said.

“It’s smart because it gives Marshalls a good avenue for future growth,” Saunders said.

He cautioned that TJX “be careful” that its online store doesn’t cannibalize its stores. “One of the key things about the off-price model is that people will bargain hunt in a physical stores, which doesn’t always translate online,” he said.

In TJX’s most recent earnings, same-store sales missed estimates, partly because of the rise of off-price stores being opened by Macy’s and Nordstrom. Sales rose nearly 5% to $10 billion for second quarter ending in early August.

TJX stock jumped 2% in early trading and is up 25% for the year.

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