The question of whether there is enough merchandise availability to support TJX’s continued growth has been asked of us since we opened our first stores over 40 years ago. Today, with more than 4,000 stores and growing, our answer remains the same – availability of quality product has never been an issue! During our four-plus decades in business, we have built a flexible, value-driven, “global sourcing machine.” We have over 1,000 Associates in our buying organization, operate buying offices in 12 countries, and source product from more than 100 countries. With our global buying presence, our expansive vendor universe, which now numbers over 20,000 vendors, and more than $35 billion in sales in 2017, we have great confidence in our ability to source quality product for our growing store base.
We believe we have some of the best, mutually beneficial vendor relationships in the retail industry. We are constantly working to strengthen our existing relationships and develop new ones. In 2017, we continued to add new vendors and expand our global sourcing network, primarily as a result of our growth in home, our entry into Australia, and the growth of e-commerce in general. Our buyers are in the marketplace throughout the year, and with “no walls” between departments in our stores, we can shift merchandise categories to take advantage of market opportunities and adjust to changing consumer preferences. We are able to buy in many different ways and believe that we are an extremely attractive and increasingly important resource for vendors. We are typically willing to purchase less-than-full assortments of items, styles, and sizes, as well as quantities ranging from small to very large. We pay promptly, and we generally do not ask for typical retail concessions, such as advertising, promotional, or return allowances. Neither quantity nor quality of product has ever been an issue for us, and we are confident that it will not be in the future. Further, we believe that we will continue to be a sought-after business resource for vendors throughout the world.