Ross Stores

Ross Stores Inc. — the off-pricer that’s just over half the size of Macy’s Inc. but worth twice as much — continued to push ahead and claim market share last year, but the path ahead could be getting steeper.

Ross’ net earnings increased 21.9 percent to $1.36 billion, or $3.55 a share diluted share, as sales increased 9.9 percent to $14.13 billion.

The offpricer’s stock has been steadily increasing as it, along with competitor TJX Cos Inc., benefited from turmoil in the full-price side of the business and offered customers as treasure-hunt experience. Ross stock gained 3.2 percent to $80.51 in trading before the results, giving the company an enterprise value of over $29 billion. (By comparison, Macy’s has an enterprise value of $13.34 billion with sales of $24.84 billion).

But shares of the company slipped back 3 percent to $78.06 after-hours trading as the company tamped down expectations going forward.

Chief executive officer Barbara Rentler said: “While we are encouraged by our recent strong sales and earnings results, we again face our own challenging multiyear comparisons as well as a very competitive retail environment. As a result, although we hope to do better, we continue to take a prudent approach to forecasting our business in 2018.”

This year, the retailer is looking for same-store sales growth of 1 percent to 2 percent following 4 percent gains for each of the past three years.

Ross will also have revenues coming in from roughly 100 new stores this year with plans to open 75 Ross Dress for Less doors and 25 Dd’s Discounts locations.

Off-pricers like Ross have been thriving in the digital age with a decidedly bricks and mortar approach that’s heavy on value, brands and newness, with store assortments changing quickly as inventory becomes available.

The Dublin, Calif.-based retailer operates 1,409 stores in 37 states.

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