Doug Systrom, Kerry Winco, and Cathy Meiler
Summary by Liza Geduldig
Who wouldn’t want to work for a $13 billion in sales, Fortune 200 Company, that plays on the same field with discount retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and the Federated Company and has a record growth in earnings for 25 of the 26 years they have been in business? With just over 100,000 employees, the TJX Corporation has become one of the biggest names to hit the fashion industry. The company continues to prove themselves as a dominant player with five different store branches of their company in the US and three branches internationally.
The TJX Corporation is made up of 5 domestic branches: TJ Maxx (700-750 stores), Marshall’s (Almost 700 stores), HomeGoods (200 stores), AJ Wright (new venue, urban wear/hip hop apparel), and Bob Stores (signed on to the TJX label Christmas Eve, now has 32 stores). The corporation is also attached internationally to two stores in Canada: Winners, which is almost identical to TJ Maxx and Home Sense, similar to Home Goods and has been in business just over a year. Moving across the pond, to the U.K. and Ireland, TK Maxx operates with over 200 stores and $1 billion in sales.
In almost every major shopping plaza there is a TJ Maxx, but directly across the street from that TJ Maxx is an equally dominant shopping plaza with a Marshall’s store. How do the two stores compare to one another and isn’t that too much competition against the same company’s business? Competition is always a good thing as long as these stores can identify themselves as different braches of the TJX Corporation. Buyers for the two stores are more commonly referred to as Marmax buyers. These are people who buy for both Marshall’s and TJ Maxx with one order and then split the merchandise. TJ Maxx identifies its business with a bigger selection of fine jewelry, a full offering of ladies shoes, and a greater selection of female accessories such as hosiery and handbags. Marshall’s has a greater selection of men’s tailored clothing, everything from suits, slacks, ties, etc. Clothing is not the only factor, which separates these two stores, everything from advertising, color schemes, and internal business rules are all calculated differently from one another, as well from the rest of the TJX Corporation businesses.
The TJX Corporation works hard to provide first quality; branded name merchandise at a good value, and this company can ensure that every customer can find something that he or she loves. Not only does this business hold high standards for their customers, employees are equally important to this company, and the opportunities for growth are more than adequate.
Kerry Winco and Cathy Meiler, both former URI graduates and now employees for the TJX Corporation, have found nothing but success with the business. “This is a company I will be with forever, no ifs, ands, or buts about it,” says Winco. TJX is one of the few large retail corporations who have such an extensive training program for their administrative employees. Starting in the PACE program, an initial training course about the objectives of the company and valuable skills needed to perform everyday tasks are taught in PACE. From this point, employees generally start low on the hierarchy chain; however the movement through the chain is astonishing. “It takes somewhere between 3 and 7 years to move through the administrative positions, depending on previous skills and capability,” explains Cathy Meiler. “It took me 7 years to get where I am today as a buyer for Marmax, but every job I had, I’ve learned so much.” With 1400 different stores to buy for, Cathy says she is grateful for those 7 years to learn the ins and outs of the company.
Cathy started as an analyst in the domestic area, spent a year in this position and then was promoted to senior analyst. She then became an associate planner for the boy’s section, and then moved to lingerie. From here she went to Planning Manager for two and a half years, and now Cathy has been a buyer for the past year in hosiery and sleepwear. Her typical week starts with analysis on Monday, where she looks at sales from the past weeks, trends, scheduling, and bookings with vendors through phone time. Tuesday through Thursday, Cathy is generally in NYC to visit vendors and buy merchandise. The most important piece of advice Cathy gives about buying is, “It’s not always about having to buy each time you are in the market, building lasting relationships with vendors is sometimes more important as these people are the ones who know the trends, what is hot and will be the people you eventually have to negotiate with.”
Kerry Winco, who is now a planning manager for the sportswear category does 6 to 12 million dollars in business, it took her 5 years to get to this stage of her career. She worked her way up in the business from entry-level analysis to senior analysis to associate planner, and then finally to Planning Manager. Kerry originally joined the TJX team hoping to become a buyer, but after years of working on the planning and analysis side of the business she knows that this is what she loves. Tasks involved through Kerry’s line of work include: high level of analysis of business and what businesses should be buying, training employees, traveling to see trends of other stores as well as distribution processes.
Both ladies credit this company as one of the nicest buyers in the market. The Corporation holds business ethics to a high standard, and many times because of this they eat a lot of problems. The good thing is because of the high level of satisfaction out of both customers and employees, the TJX Corporation finds they have very deep pockets to render any mistakes which may be made, and chalk it up to a new experience worth learning from. This is always a sign of a great business, one worth investing your time and money into.
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