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Chief Executive Officer
The year 2012 was another great year for TJX on top of many great years! Our off-price shopping experience continued to attract consumers against the backdrop of a very competitive retail environment, a volatile economy and growth in online shopping in the retail industry. Sales for the year were nearly $26 billion, almost $3 billion more than 2011. Consolidated comparable store sales were up an extremely strong 7%, on top of a 4% increase in the prior year, and earnings per share grew more than 25% over double-digit growth in 2011. Customer traffic rose again in 2012 for the fifth consecutive year. All of our divisions delivered excellent results. In the U.S., The Marmaxx Group, our largest division, continues to be very powerful, and HomeGoods has become a shopping destination for exciting home fashions from around the world. Internationally, TJX Canada had a terrific year, and TJX Europe, which holds so much growth potential, continued to regain its momentum.
Looking ahead, we are very excited about our tremendous growth opportunities. We see enormous potential to increase our U.S. and international market share and are convinced we will continue to attract more customers with our value proposition. Recently, we have been successfully attracting younger customers and believe we will retain these shoppers as loyal customers for the future. To continue attracting more new customers, we are planning even more powerful marketing this year, and we will continue upgrading the shopping experience. Further, we have many in-store merchandising initiatives underway. Our universe of over 16,000 vendors affords us tremendous flexibility, and we continue to strengthen our vendor relationships and build new ones to offer consumers even more exciting brands. While we drive our top line, we expect to also drive our profitability through even better inventory management and a further improved supply chain.
We are well on the road to fulfilling our vision to be a $40 billion company and beyond. We operate a focused portfolio of four large divisions, which together represent tremendous growth potential for TJX in the U.S. and internationally. With over 3,000 stores today, we see the potential to expand our store base by over 50%, up to almost 4,800 stores, with our current chains in our current markets alone. Beyond our successful brick-and-mortar business, we see expanding our e-commerce presence over time as a great opportunity for TJX and another platform to reach more customers with our great values.
As we begin a new year, our winning formula has not changed! We will continue to raise the bar on execution of the many elements of our off-price business model that have made this Company great. Importantly, we are proud of our ability to invest for the long term, while simultaneously driving superior financial returns. We have great confidence in the short and long term and above all, throughout our organization, we remain focused on our value mission to be a retailer for today and tomorrow!