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Ross Edges Past September Comp Estimate

For the five weeks ended September 29, Ross Stores, Inc. posted a 10% sales increase to $800 million versus the five weeks ended October 1, 2011. Comparable store sales for the month gained 5%.

The comp store figure narrowly beat a Thomson Reuter’s analyst average estimate.

In a conference call, Ross CFO John Call said that Juniors and Accessories were the top-performing sales segments in September while Florida and Texas were the company’s strongest geographic regions.

In a statement on the company’s September performance, Michael Balmuth, Ross vice chairman and CEO, commented, “The primary driver of our favorable business trends year-to-date remains our ongoing focus on delivering fresh and exciting assortments of name brand bargains that continue to resonate with today’s value-focused consumers. Earnings per share for the 13 weeks ending October 27, 2012, are now projected to be in the range of 70 cents to 71 cents compared to 63 cents for the same period last year. The forecasted upside from our previous earnings per share guidance of 63 cents to 66 cents is mainly due to a combination of ahead-of-plan sales and merchandise gross margin in August and September, as well as slightly better-than-expected shortage results from our annual physical inventory in September.”

Balmuth concluded, “Looking ahead, our guidance for the remainder of the year is unchanged. October same store sales are forecast to be up 3% to 4%. For the 13 weeks ending January 26, 2013, the company continues to project same store sales to be up 1% to 2%. Earnings per share for the 14 weeks ending February 2, 2013 remains in the range of 99 cents to $1.04, which includes an estimated eight cents to nine cents benefit from the 53rd week this year, and compares to 85 cents for the 13 weeks ended January 28, 2012.”