TJ Maxx, Marshalls Parent TJX Taps Mindshare as Media AOR

Retail Company Plans to Launch New Department Store Chain This Year

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Credit: Mike Mozart/Creative Commons

TJX Cos., parent to Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods and Sierra Trading Post, has hired WPP media agency Mindshare as its media agency of record for all brands in the U.S., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Mindshare, which deferred comment to TJX, is expected to begin working on the off-price brands immediately, including media planning, buying and analytics. Pile & Co. supported the review, Ad Age learned.

"The media industry has changed significantly in recent years and we wanted to ensure that as the landscape evolves, media support for our T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and Sierra Trading Post chains helps position our businesses for continued growth," said a TJX spokeswoman. "With that goal in mind, TJX has made the decision to place its media account with Mindshare. We are extremely grateful to the media-buying agencies that have served our company well for many years."

A representative from Pile & Co. was not immediately available for comment.

Prior to Mindshare, TJX worked with Hill Holliday's media shop Trilia. Representatives from Trilia were not immediately available for comment.

The new account may help offset Mindshare's recent loss of Mattel's media-buying responsibilities in the U.S. Mattel selected a Publicis Groupe team, named "Team Mattel," which is comprised of Mediavest Spark and DigitasLBi, to handle its $150 million U.S. media-planning and -buying account in February. For the creative marketing of its brands, TJX works with Leo Burnett for Marshalls, Grey for TJ Maxx and KBS for HomeGoods.

TJX spent nearly $217 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media, a slight dip from its $225 million spend in 2015, according to the Ad Age Datacenter.

Last month, TJX told investors that it plans on launching a new line of home décor stores this year, which will complement its existing HomeGoods chain. Four stores in the U.S. are expected to open by the end of the year under the new name, which has yet to be revealed.

While other retailers continue to struggle and brainstorm, 41-year-old TJX has crafted a winning playbook through its discounted discovery retail model. By changing product selection on a regular basis at its 3,800 stores, the company attracts bargain-hungry shoppers eager to see the latest and greatest deals and trends. The strategy has repeatedly proved successful for the Framingham, Mass.-based company, which reported a 7% uptick in net sales last year to $33.2 billion. In the all-crucial holiday fourth quarter, TJX said same-store sales were up 3%.

"TJX continues to outperform alternative retail channels," said Moody's VP Christina Boni in a recent statement. "The value proposition of the off-price channel continues to resonate with growth being driven by its store footprint as the sector's online penetration remains low."

In fact, the off-price strategy has been so profitable for TJX that competitors, such as Macy's, have recently begun to offer and expand their own discount shops.

Ernie Herman, who was promoted to chief executive last year, said on a recent conference call that TJX takes an integrated marketing approach by engaging consumers through all channels—television, digital, mobile and social media. "We incorporate learnings to further leverage our marketing dollars and to increase awareness of our brands in an ever-changing media world," he said. "We also continue to grow our loyalty programs to drive more frequent visits and cross shopping of our brands."

The company is in the process of remodeling 260 of its stores. It also plans to add a second new home décor chain to its stable of brands later this year.

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