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Ross Posts First-Rate Second Quarter

For the 13-week second quarter ended August 3, Ross Stores, Inc. posted net earnings of $213.1 million versus $182 million in the prior year, with earnings per of 98 cents as compared to 81 cents for the 13 weeks ended July 28, 2012. Comparable store sales for the second quarter rose 4% versus the year earlier period, the company announced.

Earnings before taxes were $346.5 million versus $297 million in the year prior.

In a conference call, Michael Balmuth, Ross vice chairman and CEO, said that juniors and accessories were the strongest performing product segments in the quarter.

In announcing financial results, he commented, “We are pleased with our better-than-expected results for the second quarter and first six months of 2013, which were mainly driven by above-plan sales and merchandise gross margin. Our performance for both the quarter and year-to-date periods continues to benefit from the solid execution of our core off-price strategy of delivering compelling name brand bargains to today’s value-focused consumers. Operating margin for the second quarter grew to a record 13.6%, up from 12.8% in the prior year. This increased level of profitability was driven by a 70 basis point improvement in cost of goods sold, mainly due to higher merchandise gross margin, and a 10 basis point decline in selling, general and administrative expenses.”