TJX’s financial strength and flexibility have always been cornerstones of our success and give us great confidence in our ability to drive profitable growth in many kinds of economic and retail environments. We have a consistent history of generating large amounts of cash through our strong operations and have delivered excellent financial returns that are among the highest in retail. We operate with an off-price cost structure and are extremely focused on returns on investment. Our 22% return on invested capital in 2017 reflects our disciplined approach to capital allocation.1 We have an “A+” S&P Global credit rating, one of the strongest we have seen in the retail industry, and ample financial liquidity, which offers our vendors, landlords, and other business associates a high degree of confidence. Our tremendous cash flow has allowed us to simultaneously invest in the growth of our business while returning value to shareholders. We deploy our cash with a careful balance between maintaining our flexibility, reinvesting in the growth of our businesses, and distributing cash to our shareholders through our dividend and share repurchase programs.
In 2018, our capital spending plan of $1.4 billion includes increased investments in new stores and store remodels, our global supply chain and distribution network, IT systems, and new seeds for growth. Simultaneously, we plan to significantly increase our shareholder distributions.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was beneficial to the Company in 2017, and, going forward, we believe our business will continue to benefit from tax reform. As a result, we significantly increased our dividend and share buyback programs for 2018. In April 2018, our Board of Directors approved a 25% increase in the quarterly per-share dividend, the 22nd consecutive year of a dividend increase. We also announced that we are planning $2.5 to $3.0 billion of share repurchases in 2018. Through our substantial share buyback program, as of the end of 2017, we had repurchased over $19 billion of TJX stock since 1997. These actions underscore our confidence in our ability to continue the profitable growth of our off-price value concept around the world while continuing to return value to shareholders.
1See reconciliation on our Reconciliation of Financials page.