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Ross Stores raises Q1 outlook

Apr '08
Ross Stores Inc reported that sales increased 6% to $633 million for the five weeks ended April 5, 2008, from $599 million for the five weeks ended April 7, 2007. Comparable store sales for the month declined 2% on top of a 6% gain in March 2007.

For the nine weeks ended April 5, 2008, sales totaled $1.077 billion, an 8% increase over the $994 million in sales for the nine weeks ended April 7, 2007. Comparable store sales for the nine weeks ended April 5, 2008 grew 1% over the prior year period.

Michael Balmuth, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "March same store sales were ahead of our expectation for a 4% to 5% decline, with the month benefiting from broad-based merchandise and geographic trends. Dresses, Shoes and Home were the best performing merchandise categories, and Texas and the Mid-Atlantic were the strongest markets."

Looking ahead, Mr. Balmuth said, "We are pleased with our better-than-expected performance in both February and March and continue to project a 7% to 8% increase in same store sales for April, which benefits from the Easter calendar shift.

Assuming that April sales perform in line with our forecast, and with favorable margin and expense trends for the first two months of the quarter, we now project that earnings per share for the 13 weeks ending May 3, 2008 will be $.56 to $.58, above our prior $.52 to $.54 range, and compared to $.48 for the quarter ended May 5, 2007."

Ross Stores Inc

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