Ross Stores registered solid sales gains in its fourth quarter and fiscal year.
Earnings per share for the fourth quarter were $1.20, versus $1.19 in the previous fourth quarter. Net earnings were $442 million, compared to $451 million in the previous fourth quarter. Fourth quarter sales were $4.1 billion, with comparable store sales up 4%. The increase was on top of a 5% gain in last year’s fourth quarter.
For the full fiscal year, earnings per share grew to $4.26, compared to $3.55 in the previous fiscal year. Net earnings were $1.6 billion, compared to $1.4 billion in the previous fiscal year. Sales for the 2018 fiscal year grew 6% to $15 billion, with comparable store sales up 4% above a 4% gain in fiscal 2017.
Similar to other retailers, fiscal 2018 was a 52-week year compared to 53 weeks in fiscal 2017. The extra week added approximately $219 million in sales and $.10 to earnings per share in 2017’s fourth quarter and fiscal year.
Barbara Rentler, CEO, Ross Stores, stated, “Sales and earnings for both the fourth quarter and fiscal year outperformed our expectations. We achieved these results despite our own challenging multi-year comparisons and weakness in our ladies apparel business during the holiday season. Though above plan, fourth quarter operating margin of 13.2% was down from last year due to the 53rd week comparison and increases in freight and wage costs, as expected.”