Ross Stores Inc.
) - one of the largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain
retailers in the U.S. - reported better-than-expected same-store
sales (comps) numbers for the four weeks ended Jan 26, 2013.
Ross Stores' comps for January increased 4% compared with 5%
in the year-ago period ended Jan 28, 2012, ahead of the company's
guidance of a 1% - 2% increase. The company's January comps were
also well ahead of the estimates. The company's total sales for
the five-week period ended Feb 2, 2013 climbed 39% to $672
million compared with $483 million for the four-week ended Jan
With consumers regaining confidence, Jan 2013 was strong for
most retailers, including
The TJX Companies, Inc.
Costco Wholesale Corporation
) which registered comps growth of 8%, 3% and 4%,
For the 13-week period ended Jan 28, 2013, comps of this Zacks
Rank #2 (Buy) company rose 5% on top of 7% increase registered in
the comparable year-ago period. Net sales for the 14-week period
ended Feb 2, 2013 surged 15% to $2.761 billion compared with
$2.398 billion in the 13-week period ended Jan 28, 2012.
Further, Ross Stores reported 12 months comps gain of 6%
versus 5% rise in the year-ago period. Net sales for the 53-week
ended Feb 2, 2013 jumped 13% to $9.721 billion from $8.608
billion in the 52-week period ended Jan 28, 2012.
Robust sales mainly reflect the company's relentless focus on
offering an exciting collection in its name-brand fashion for the
family and home, which appeals to its value-oriented
Bolstered by solid top-line performance in January as well as
robust margin trends in the quarter, the company raised its
fourth-quarter earnings per share guidance range. Ross now
expects its fourth-quarter EPS to come between $1.06 and $1.07,
versus the previously forecasted range of $1.05 - $1.06.
Currently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at $1.06 per
share, which could witness a revision in coming days following
the company's guidance.
For fiscal 2012, the company now expects earnings to be
between $3.52 and $3.53 per share. Currently, the Zacks Consensus
Estimate stands at $3.52 per share, which could witness a change
in coming days following the company's guidance.
Fiscal 2013 Guidance
Along with the sales results, the company announced its
earnings forecasts for the first quarter and fiscal 2013. Ross is
expecting earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 to come
between $1.00 and $1.04 per share and comps to increase in the
range of 1%-2%. Currently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged
at the higher-end of the company's guidance range.
For fiscal 2013, the company projects earnings to be in the
range of $3.65-$3.80 per share with an expectation of 1%-2%
increase in comps. Currently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands
at $3.92 per share, which could witness a revision in coming days
following this guidance update.
Dividend and Share Repurchase Program
On the back of strong sales trends and upbeat guidance, the
company raised its quarterly cash dividend by 21% to 17 cents per
share. Dividend will be payable on Mar 29, 2013 to the
shareholders of record date as of Feb 22, 2013.
Apart from this, the company's board of directors has
authorized a new $1.1 billion share repurchase program to be
completed in the next 2 years, i.e. by the end of fiscal
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