Ross Stores Inc. posted a first-quarter profit.
For the three months ended April 30, the company said net income rose 3 percent to $290.6 million, or 73 cents a diluted share, from $282.2 million, or 69 cents, a year ago. Net sales rose 5.1 percent to $3.09 billion from $2.94 billion, while comparable-store sales were up 2 percent on top of the 5 percent gain a year ago.
Barbara Rentler, chief executive officer, said, “Even though we faced our strongest prior year comparisons, sales performed at the high end of guidance, while earnings per share were slightly above our targeted range. Operating margin for the period of 15.4 percent was down from last year, but slightly above plan, mainly due to higher merchandise margins that partially offset the expected impact from the unfavorable timing of pack-away-related costs.”
Rentler said the company continues to forecast comps for the second quarter ending July 30 to be up 1 percent to 2 percent, on top of the 4 percent gain last year, with earnings per share between 64 cents to 67 cents. EPS a year ago was 63 cents.
“Based on our first-quarter results and guidance for the second quarter, we now project earnings per share for fiscal 2016 to be in the range of $2.63 to $2.72, compared with $2.51 last year,” she said.
During the call to Wall Street analysts, Rentler said home and shoes were the best performing categories in the quarter, while ladies apparel underperformed. By geography, the Midwest and mid-Atlantic were the strongest regions, she said.
On the call, executives said California, the retailer’s largest region, performed slightly below the chain average, while Texas was above the chain average. Also the executives noted that in the women’s business, the issue was that it had the “wrong fabrications and colors.”
The company reported results after the markets ended their trading sessions.