Ross Stores is still on its streak.
The off-price retailer posted net earnings of $321 million for the first quarter, up from $291 million a year ago, on sales that grew to $3.3 billion, a 7 percent increase over last year. Comparable-store sales grew by 3 percent.
Diluted earnings per share also came in at 82 cents compared with 73 cents in the first quarter of 2016.
Chief executive officer Barbara Rentler called the quarter’s growth “respectable…despite the uncertainty and volatility in the external environment.”
Wall Street was happy with the results and sent shares of Ross up 3.7 percent in after-hours trading to $63.35.
Ross is one of very few retailers to come out of the first months in 2017 in a better position than last year. Off-price competitor TJX Stores is another, but the larger operator tallied more marginal growth.
The positive first quarter comes after Ross saw annual earnings grow by 10 percent in 2016, hitting $1.1 billion, and said in March that its moving ahead with plans to open 90 new locations this year, comprised of 70 Ross stores and 20 Dd’s Discounts stores.
Long-term, the company plans to operate 2,000 Ross locations and 500 Dd’s throughout the U.S. There are currently 1,561 stores in operation in 37 states.
Looking ahead to the second quarter, which goes through the end of June, Rentler expects the company’s comp store sales to grow between 1 percent to 2 percent, compared to a 4 percent gain last year.
Ross also projected earnings per share to hit as much as 76 cents, up from 71 cents during last year’s second quarter. For the full year, earnings should come in between $3.07 to $3.17, compared to last year’s $2.83.
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