NEW YORK (AP) — TJX Cos. is hoping to stand out with a different twist on customer service.
The Framingham, Mass.-based company, is launching its first-ever holiday gift hotline for its TJ Maxx and Marshall stores. The hotline will kick off on Dec. 3 and be live for four days until Dec. 6. A panel of 14 experts, who were selected not only for their fashion expertise but also for being fans of the brand, will share gift suggestions for a broad range of items from cashmere sweaters to gourmet chocolates.
The experts include Michelle Madhok, gift expert and founder of shefinds.com, and style expert Mercedes Sanchez of BeChicMag.com.
"We thought it would be a really great way to help out consumers," said Laura McDowell, a spokeswoman at TJX Cos.
The hotline will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST during those days. The hotline number is 1-855-404-gift.
TJX, which offers discounts on name-brand merchandise, has resonated well with frugal shoppers in the aftermath of the recession. But even retailers like TJX are facing a challenging holiday shopping season as shoppers worry about stagnant wages and rising health care costs.
TJX reported last week that its fiscal third-quarter net income climbed 35 percent as sales improved at its stores in the U.S. and internationally.
The performance beat Wall Street's view. The company, which also operates HomeGoods, boosted its full-year earnings forecast to account for its strong quarterly results, though the outlook came in slightly below analysts' projections.
Revenue increased 9 percent to $6.98 billion from $6.41 billion, topping Wall Street's estimate of $6.91 billion.