Ross Stores beat its plan estimates in the first quarter, growing both sales and earnings.
Earnings per share for the first quarter ended May 5 came in at $1.11, up from $.82 for the first quarter of 2017. Net earnings for the 2018 first quarter were $418 million, compared to $321 million in the prior year. The earnings per share results include a $.17 per share benefit from the recently enacted tax legislation.
First quarter 2018 sales increased 9% to $3.6 billion. Comparable store sales for the first quarter grew 3% over the previous first quarter.
Barbara Rentler, CEO of Ross Stores, said, “Despite unfavorable weather throughout the period, we achieved above-plan growth in both sales and earnings in the first quarter. Operating margin for the period of 15.1% was down slightly from the prior year as an improvement in merchandise gross margin and favorable timing of packaway-related expenses were offset by higher freight costs and wage-related investments.”
Looking ahead, Rentler said, “For the 13 weeks ending August 4, 2018, we are forecasting same store sales to be up 1% to 2% over the 13 weeks ended August 5, 2017. Second quarter 2018 earnings per share are projected to be $.95 to $.99, which includes the benefit from lower taxes, partially offset by the previously mentioned shift in packaway expenses.”