Ross Q1 Beats Estimate As Comps Gain

For the first quarter ended May 2, Ross Stores posted net earnings of $282.2 million, or $1.37 per diluted share, versus $243.9 million, $1.15 per diluted share, for the period in 2014. The reported earnings results include a benefit of four cents per share mainly from the favorable timing of packaway-related costs that the company expects to reverse in subsequent quarters.

The earnings per diluted share, adjusted for the benefit, beat a Zacks Investment Research analyst average estimate by five cents.

Comparable store sales rose 5% in the quarter versus the prior-year period. Net sales for the fiscal 2015 first quarter increased 10% to $2.94 billion versus last year’s quarter, the company stated. Earnings before taxes were $459.4 million as compared to $392.7 million in the 2014 first quarter, the company maintained.

Ross CEO Barbara Rentler stated, “We are pleased with our better-than-expected sales and earnings in the first quarter. Our results continue to benefit from value-focused customers responding favorably to our fresh and exciting assortments of name brand bargains. Operating margin for the first quarter grew to 15.7%, up from 14.6% in the prior year, driven by a combination of higher merchandise margin, strong expense controls, and the aforementioned favorable timing of packaway-related costs.”

At the end of the first quarter, Ross operated 1,399 stores across the United States as compared with 1,309 at the close of the year-earlier period.