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Ross Stores Prosper in April

Zacks Equity Research

Ross Stores Inc. (ROST), one of the largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain retailers in the U.S., reported better-than-expected same-store sales (comps) for the 4 weeks ended May 4, 2013.

Ross Stores’ comps for April were up 7%, which beat the company’s forecast of a 5% - 6% increase. On a year-over-year basis, the metrics remained even with the year-ago period ended Apr 28, 2012. Comps results for the month benefited from the company’s ability to provide low-priced clothing and accessories to consumers.

Ross Stores’ total sales for the 4-week period ended May 4, 2013 climbed 12% to $778 million compared with $697 million for the same time period ended May 5, 2012.

For the first quarter of 2013, Ross Stores’ comps rose 3% compared to 9% in the year-ago period. Net sales for the 13 weeks rose 6% to $2,540 million versus $2,385 million in the year-ago period.

Based on strong sales and margin gains for both April and the first quarter, Ross Stores now expects first-quarter earnings between $1.06 and $1.07 per share, above its previously forecasted guidance range of $1.00–$1.04. Currently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at $1.07 per share.

Looking ahead, Ross Stores has decided to cease reporting monthly comps starting the second quarter of 2013. Further, the company indicated that it will provide an updated view of the second quarter, along with first-quarter fiscal 2013 financial results, on May 23, 2013.

Apart from Ross Stores, 3 other retailers that posted healthy comps, include, Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ), Gap Inc. (GPS) and Buckle Inc. (BKE), who delivered comparable-store sales increase of 4.6%, 7% and 6.2%, respectively for the month of April.

Headquartered in Pleasanton, CA, Ross Stores operates through 1,112 ‘Ross Dress for Less’ stores in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, as well as 115 dd's DISCOUNTS stores across 9 states. Currently, the company carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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