Earnings per share at Ross Stores Inc, a Fortune 500 and Nasdaq 100 company, surged 16% year-on-year for the 13 weeks ended August 2, 2014, partly, from a one-time benefit of around $0.02 per share from the favourable resolution of an outstanding legal matter.
Ross Stores, with fiscal 2013 revenues of $10.2 billion reported earnings per share of $1.14 in the second fiscal quarter of 2014 up from $0.98 for the 13 weeks ended August 3, 2013.
In the second quarter of 2014, net earnings at California headquartered - Ross Stores grew 12% to $239.6 million, up from $213.1 million in the prior year quarter.
Second quarter of 2014 sales went up 7% to $2.730 billion, compared to $2.551 billion in the second quarter of 2013, while comparable store sales rose 2% on top of a 4% gain for the 13 weeks ended August 3, 2013.
Operating margin grew to a record 14.3%, up from 13.6% in the prior year, mainly driven by a 25 basis point improvement in cost of goods sold, mainly due to higher merchandise gross margin.
Ross Stores also posted a 45 basis point decline in selling, general and administrative expenses, with benefits arising from tight expense controls and resolution of the a legal matter.
CEO Barbara Rentler said, “We continue to enhance stockholder returns through our stock repurchase and dividend programs. During the first six months of fiscal 2014, we repurchased 4.1 million shares of common stock for an aggregate price of $277 million.”
“As a result, we remain on track to buy back a total of $550 million in common stock during fiscal 2014, which would complete the two-year $1.1 billion program authorized at the beginning of 2013", she noted.
For the 13 weeks ending November 1, 2014 or the third fiscal quarter, Ross Stores expects earnings per share to be $.83 to $.87, while in the fourth fiscal quarter it projects earnings per share in the range of $1.05 to $1.09.
Earnings per share for the 52 weeks ending January 31, 2015 are now forecast to be $4.18 to $4.26, up from $3.88 for the 52 weeks ended February 1, 2014.
These guidance ranges are based on same store sales, projected to rise between 1% and 2% for both the third and fourth quarters of 2014, Ross Stores said.