TJX

Discount apparel and housewares retailer TJX (TJX) is a different story. Not only does this firm sport a very compelling traffic driver for its stores, TJX also benefits from outsized margins from the retail sector. So while fund managers sell shares of TJX Companies in 2014, it makes sense to be on the other side of the trade.

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TJX owns an attractive collection of discount retail names that includes T.J. Maxx, Marshall's and HomeGoods -- three store chains that benefit when consumers want to seek out a bargain. TJX is the standard bearer in the off-price retail segment, the firm's stores stock major brand name clothing, accessories and housewares at prices that are fairly dramatic discounts to their retail costs. That positioning helps to ensure limited competition from online discount retailers; the limited stock nature of the off-price retail business makes online sales difficult. Better, full-price retailers and manufacturers need TJX because the firm is willing to buy massive swaths of excess inventory.

Retail is extremely capital intense, and TJX provides a top-line boost to its suppliers with zero risk. On the consumer side, TJX's value proposition means that the firm stands to do well in the event of a surprise economic hiccup. Even so, funds sold off 6.87 million shares of TJX in the most recent quarter.

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