Marshalls is making an unprecedented change to its business after long refusing to sell online

  • Marshalls is launching an e-commerce store this year. 
  • The assortment will be different online and in-store in order to prevent cannibalization of sales, The TJX Companies' CEO Ernie Herrman said in a call with investors on Wednesday. 
  • Off-price stores have staved off the threat of e-commerce and largely taken a more relaxed approach to online sales because they offer a unique treasure-hunt shopping experience in stores.  

Marshalls is going online.

In a call with investors on Wednesday, Ernie Herrman, CEO of TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods parent TJX Companies, announced that the company will be launching an online platform for Marshalls later this year. 

Herrman said the company will prevent any cannibalization of sales by keeping the assortment online and at its brick-and-mortar stores as different as possible. 

"We look at it as complementary," he said of the two platforms and compared it to TJ Maxx, which went online in 2013 and also offers a different assortment on the two channels. 

"We have learned a lot from TJMaxx.com," Herrman said, adding that an online platform has helped to build customer awareness and led to more trips to stores. "We really believe it drives incremental store traffic ... it is going to encourage cross-shopping."

TJX did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for further comment.

Read more:We shopped at TJ Maxx and Ross to see which was a better discount store — and the winner was clear

Analysts say that off-price retailers have been able to stave off the threat of e-commerce and taken a more relaxed approach because they offer a treasure-hunt shopping experience, which is difficult to replicate online. 

TJX reported its 23rd consecutive year of growth on Wednesday. Same-store sales were up 6% overall during fiscal 2019, and 7% at Marmaxx, which includes TJ Maxx and Marshalls. The company also announced that it will be opening 60 Marmaxx stores in the coming year. 

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