TJ Maxx was a retail bright spot during the holidays

Retail has had scant bright spots lately, but T.J. Maxx parent TJX Companies (TJX) offered cause to celebrate.

Fourth quarter sales clocked in at $9.5 billion, up 6% year over year, and ahead of estimates for $4.44 billion. Earnings of $1.03 a share beat forecasts for $1.00 a share.

“We were particularly pleased that customer traffic was the primary driver of our comp increases at every major division, which tells us that our eclectic merchandise mix and amazing values continue to resonate with consumers across our geographies,” CEO Ernie Herman said in a statement, noting that 40-year-old TJX has reported comparable sales increases for 21 straight years.

Shares of TJX rose slightly in early trading to $76.33.

Net sales of $33.2 billion for the year represented a 7% increase, while comparable sales rose…