Ross Stores Inc. Thursday joined its larger off-price rival The TJX Cos. Inc. in the winner’s circle for third-quarter results with a 12.3 percent advance in net income and 8.4 percent growth in revenues.
In the three months ended Nov. 1, the Dublin, Calif.-based firm reported net income of $192.7 million, or 93 cents a diluted share, versus a profit of $171.6 million, or 80 cents, in the year-ago quarter.
Revenues grew to $2.6 billion from $2.4 billion in the 2013 period as same-store sales moved up 4 percent.
Top- and bottom-line results exceeded analysts’ consensus estimates, which were for EPS of 87 cents on revenues of $2.55 billion.
Despite cautious guidance from the retailer, shares picked up 5.5 percent to $87.80 in early after-hours trading following the disclosure of results after the closing bell. Earlier in the day, they rose 1.3 percent to $83.21.
In the fourth quarter, Ross expects same-store sales to rise between 1 and 2 percent, with EPS for the period of between $1.05 and $1.09, below Wall Street’s $1.10 consensus estimate.
While confident in the stores’ “wide array of exciting and sharply priced name brand fashions and gifts to appeal to today’s value-focused shoppers,” Barbara Rentler, chief executive officer, said it was prudent for the company to “maintain a cautious outlook given the ongoing uncertainties in the macroeconomic environment and the likelihood of an intensely competitive and promotional holiday season.”
Inventories expanded less than the rate of sales, ending the third quarter at $1.5 billion, 4.5 percent than the $1.43 billion level at the end of the 2013 period.
“Despite management’s cautious outlook, we believe the stock will likely trade up [Friday] given Q3’s strong results,” wrote Stifel Nicolaus analyst Richard Jaffe in a note to clients. “However, we reiterate our hold rating, as we believe that the anticipated success of the entry into new markets and the continued improvement of Ross stores and [its Dds division] despite anniversarying peak margins is nearly full reflected in the share price.”
Prior to its close, shares of Ross hit a 52-week high of $83.54 in afternoon trading.