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Ross Stores generates outstanding performance
22
Nov '11
Ross Stores Inc. reported earnings per share for the 13 weeks ended October 29, 2011 of $1.26, up from $1.02 for the 13 weeks ended October 30, 2010. These results reflect a 24% increase on top of 21% and 91% gains in the third quarters of 2010 and 2009, respectively.

Net earnings for the third quarter ended October 29, 2011 grew 19% to $144.0 million, up from $121.4 million for the third quarter ended October 30, 2010. Fiscal 2011 third quarter sales increased 9% to $2.046 billion, with comparable store sales up 5% over the prior year.

For the nine months ended October 29, 2011, earnings per share were $4.03, up from $3.26 for the nine months ended October 30, 2010. These results represent 24% growth on top of 36% and 52% gains for the first nine months of 2010 and 2009, respectively. Net earnings for the year-to-date period in 2011 grew 18% to $465.2 million, up from $393.0 million in the prior year period. Sales for the first nine months of 2011 increased 9% to $6.210 billion, with comparable store sales up 5% on top of a 6% gain last year.

Michael Balmuth, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are pleased with our above-plan sales and earnings in the third quarter and first nine months of 2011, especially considering this growth was achieved on top of exceptional increases in the prior two years.

Our strong revenue gains continue to be driven mainly by our ability to deliver compelling bargains on a wide assortment of exciting name brand fashions for the family and the home to today's increasingly value-focused consumers. In addition, operating our business on lower in-store inventories is driving faster turns and lower markdowns, which continues to benefit profit margins."

Commenting on the Company's store growth, Mr. Balmuth said, "As planned, in early October, we launched our expansion into the Midwest with the opening of 12 new Ross Dress for Less stores in the greater Chicago area. We are very excited about the long-term growth opportunities this market offers and are confident that Ross Dress for Less will become an attractive destination for customers there."

Mr. Balmuth continued, "Operating margin in the third quarter grew about 45 basis points to 10.9%, driven primarily by a 40 basis point reduction in selling, general and administrative expenses. Cost of goods sold as a percent of sales decreased 5 basis points from the prior year, as higher merchandise gross margin, including better-than-expected shortage results, and leverage on buying and occupancy expenses more than offset an expected increase in packaway-related distribution costs as a percent of sales."

Two-for-One Stock Split
The Company announced that its Board of Directors has approved a two-for-one stock split to be paid in the form of a 100% stock dividend on December 15, 2011 to stockholders of record as of November 29, 2011. In addition, the Board declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $.22 per share, or $.11 per share post-split, payable on December 30, 2011 to stockholders of record as of November 29, 2011.

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