Ross Stores Q3 up 18.6%

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Ross Stores Inc. reported Thursday its third straight quarter of profits, as net income rose 18.6% to $144 million, from $121.4 million a year earlier. Results met Wall Street expectations.

“Operating our business on lower in-store inventories is driving faster turns and lower markdowns, which continues to benefit profit margins,” noted Michael Balmuth, CEO.

Revenue rose 9.2% to $2.05 billion, beating analysts’ predicted $2.03 billion in revenue.

Looking ahead, Balmuth said, "As we enter the fourth quarter, we remain favorably positioned as a value retailer and our stores are stocked with terrific assortments of branded bargains. However, the ongoing uncertainty in the macro-economic environment as well as the possibility of an even more competitive than usual holiday season, keep us somewhat cautious in our outlook for the balance of the year. As a result, although we hope to do better, we are maintaining our prior fourth quarter forecast for both sales and earnings."

For the 13 weeks ending Jan. 28, 2012, the company continues to forecast same-store sales to be up 2% to 3% on top of 4% and 10% gains for the fourth quarters of 2010 and 2009, respectively. Earnings per share are projected to be in the range of $1.53 to $1.59, up an estimated 12% to 16% on top of outstanding 18% and 53% increases in the prior two years. 

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