Pleasanton, CA—Thanks to improved margins and continued strong sales, Ross Stores Inc. reported today that its fourth quarter earnings rose 23%.
For the quarter ended Feb. 2, the off-price retailer posted a profit of $236.6 million, or $1.07 a share, compared to a profit of $192 million, or 86 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.
Net revenue was up 15% to $2.76 billion from $2.4 billion.
The results matched Wall Street predictions. Analysts’ average estimate expected earnings of $1.07 a share on sales of $2.76 billion.
For the quarter ended Feb. 2, Ross earned $236.6 million, or $1.07 per share, up from $192 million, or 85 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue rose 15 percent to $2.76 billion from $2.4 billion.
Comparable store sales rose 5% on top of a 7% comp store increase in fourth quarter a year ago.
Ending Monthly Sales Reports, Too
For fiscal 2012, the company reported net income of $786.76 million, or $3.53 a share, higher than $657.17 million, or $2.86 a share, in the prior year. Sales for the full year grew 13% to $9.720 billion as comparable store sales increased 6%. Analysts expected Ross Stores to report full year earnings of $3.53 a share on annual revenues of $9.69 billion.
“Earnings before interest and taxes for the 2012 fourth quarter grew to 13.7% of sales, up from 13.0% in the fourth quarter of 2011,” said Michael Balmuth, vice chairman/ceo. “For fiscal 2012, operating margin rose to a record 13.1%, a gain of 75 basis points on top of an 85 basis point increase in 2011. Profit margins for both the quarter and the full year mainly benefited from higher merchandise gross margin, leverage on operating expenses from the strong gains in same store sales and the impact of the 53rd week.”
“Results for both periods benefited from our ongoing ability to deliver compelling bargains on a wide assortment of exciting name brand fashions for the family and the home to today’s value-focused consumers,” Balmuth added.
In other news, Ross Stores said it no longer will release monthly sales reports starting with its fiscal second quarter.
“Reporting sales quarterly aligns us with the majority of other retailers who have already adopted this practice, while also increasing the focus on longer-term performance,” said Balmuth.