A Message from our Chief Executive Officer and President
Chief Executive Officer and President
The year 2015 was another successful year for our Company following many years of steady sales and profit growth. Our off-price values continued to resonate with our new and already loyal customers across all of our geographies. We brought our values to more consumers around the world as we expanded our global reach to three new countries. We surpassed the $30 billion milestone, with net sales for the year reaching $30.9 billion. Consolidated comparable store sales were up a strong 5% and, on an adjusted basis, diluted earnings per share increased 5% over the prior year's strong growth.1 We are very proud that 2015 marked the 20th consecutive year of consolidated comparable store sales increases!
In the U.S., Marmaxx, our largest division, posted very strong results while bringing T.J. Maxx and Marshalls to even more U.S. shoppers. HomeGoods achieved outstanding results as we introduced this chain's eclectic mix of home fashions to more U.S. regions. TJX Canada delivered remarkable top-line performance and we furthered our penetration of that country. TJX International had a very solid year, expanding our presence in Europe and entering Australia with the acquisition of Trade Secret. We are excited about our e-commerce businesses in the U.S. and U.K., which we view as another attractive avenue to gain more customers, both online and in our stores. We were also happy to open additional Sierra Trading Post stores as we are always testing new ideas and initiatives.
We are convinced that tremendous opportunity remains to bring our values to more consumers in the U.S. and internationally. As we pursue our goals for global growth and gaining market share profitably, our key strengths give us great confidence. We see our commitment to our off-price value mission, flexible business model and extensive international experience and infrastructure as important differentiators between us and other major retailers and key advantages in our continuing successful growth. Our buying team numbers more than 1,000 Associates, and sources merchandise from a universe of more than 18,000 vendors in over 100 countries! We have dedicated nearly 40 years to cultivating our merchandising talent, improving our off-price buying processes, and building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our vendors. Our global supply chain and distribution network have been developed over many decades to support our highly integrated, international business. With 10 chains in 9 countries, our global presence is another major reason for our confidence.
Our growth strategy is focused on these key drivers: driving customer traffic and comparable store sales, global store growth, and new seeds and innovation.
We are extremely pleased with our significant increases in customer traffic and comparable store sales in 2015, yet we are convinced that significant opportunity remains to gain market share. We grew our customer base across all age brackets last year and are particularly happy with the increases among Millennial shoppers across all divisions. To reach even more consumers, and encourage more cross-shopping of our brands, we are capitalizing on our global marketing capabilities, growing our loyalty programs, and continuing to upgrade the shopping experience. We also see e-commerce as an important element of our strategies to drive customer traffic and sales that are generally incremental to our brick-and-mortar business.
We see vast potential to expand our retail chains around the world. We believe we can grow our store base by more than 50%, to 5,600 stores long term, in just our current chains and just our current markets alone! Beyond this, we are confident our value concept can work in any country where consumers seek great fashion and brands at amazing prices. In 2015, we were delighted to bring T.K. Maxx to Austria and the Netherlands, our fifth and sixth European countries, and add Trade Secret, an Australian off-price retailer with 35 stores, to our family of companies, expanding our store presence to our third continent!
We are confident that our ongoing focus on developing new seeds and innovation is a driving force of our long-term success. We are never complacent and are constantly testing new ideas across the Company that could lead to new categories or initiatives and fuel our future growth. We are convinced that being leaders in innovation will keep us differentiated from the rest of the retail world and help drive continued success!
As we look ahead, we could not be more excited about the future of TJX! We remain committed to our value mission, and laser focused on sharp execution of our off-price model in the near-term, while investing in stores, infrastructure, new seeds and talent to support our long-term vision for global growth. Importantly, we are proud of our ability to invest across our businesses, while simultaneously driving superior financial returns and distributing cash to our shareholders through our share buyback and dividend programs. We are convinced that we will achieve our goals and the next milestone of becoming a $40 billion-plus Company!
1On a GAAP basis, Fiscal 2016 diluted EPS increased 6% over EPS of $3.15 in Fiscal 2015, which includes a Fiscal 2015 second quarter debt extinguishment charge of $.01.