Ross Stores Inc.’s earnings for the three months ended Oct. 29 rose 18.6 percent to $144 million, or $1.26 a diluted share, from $121.4 million, or $1.02, a year ago. Sales rose 9.2 percent to $2.05 billion from $1.87 billion, with comparable-store sales up 5 percent.


Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Our strong revenue gains continue to be driven mainly by our ability to deliver compelling bargains on a wide assortment of exciting name brand fashions for the family and the home to today’s increasingly value-focused consumers. In addition, operating our business on lower in-store inventories is driving faster turns and lower markdowns, which continues to benefit profit margins.”


The company’s board has approved a two-for-one stock split to be paid as a 100 percent stock dividend on Dec. 5 for shareholders of record as of Nov. 29.


The ceo said, “As we enter the fourth quarter, we remain favorably positioned as a value retailer and our stores are stocked with terrific assortments of branded bargains. However, the ongoing uncertainty in the macro-economic environment as well as the possibility of an even more competitive than usual holiday season, keep us somewhat cautious in our outlook for the balance of the year. As a result, although we hope to do better, we are maintaining our prior fourth quarter forecast for both sales and earnings.”


The company expects fourth-quarter earnings per share, before the two-for-one stock split, in the range of $1.53 and $1.59.

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