* Q4 EPS ex-items $0.55 vs Wall St view of $0.51
* Q4 sales flat at $5.4 billion
* To outline cost cut plans, no full-year outlook given
NEW YORK, Feb 25 (Reuters) - TJX Cos (TJX.N) posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday as shoppers at its off-priced stores spent carefully in the recession, and the company declined to provide a full-year outlook.
The net profit fell to $250.9 million or 58 cents a share in the fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with $301.1 million or 66 cents a share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 55 cents a share, topping the average estimate of 51 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Sales were flat at $5.4 billion during the quarter.
The company, whose retail chains include T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and A.J. Wright, buys excess merchandise at below-wholesale prices and sells it at prices that can be up to 60 percent less than department stores and specialty retailers. Its prices attract consumers who hunt for discounts as they try to save money in a recession.
For the fiscal first quarter, TJX forecast earnings of 32 cents to 38 cents a share from continuing operations.
TJX expects the first half of the fiscal year to be more challenging, and is implementing “major cost reductions,” which it expects to discuss later. The company declined to issue a full-year outlook, citing uncertain economic conditions.
Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman