PLEASANTON, Calif., March 21, 2013 –Ross Stores, Inc. (Nasdaq: ROST) today reported earnings per share for the 14 weeks ended February 2, 2013 of $1.07, up from $.85 for the 13 weeks ended January 28, 2012. Net earnings for the 14 weeks ended February 2, 2013 grew to $236.6 million, up 23% from $192.0 million for the 13 weeks ended January 28, 2012. Sales for the 14 weeks ended February 2, 2013grew 15% to $2.761 billion. Comparable store sales for the 13 weeks ended January 26, 2013, rose 5% on top of a 7% increase in the fourth quarter of 2011.
For the 53 weeks ended February 2, 2013, earnings per share grew to $3.53, from $2.86 for the 52 weeks ended January 28, 2012. Net earnings for the 53 weeks ended February 2, 2013 grew 20% to $786.8 million, compared to $657.2 million for the 52 weeks ended January 28, 2012. Sales for the 53 weeks ended February 2, 2013, rose 13% to $9.721 billion. Same store sales for the 52 weeks ended January 26, 2013 grew 6% compared to a 5% gain in 2011.
Michael Balmuth, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are pleased with the record sales and earnings we delivered in the fourth quarter and 2012 fiscal year, especially considering they were achieved on top of strong multi-year gains. Results for both periods benefited from our ongoing ability to deliver compelling bargains on a wide assortment of exciting name brand fashions for the family and the home to today’s value-focused consumers.”
Mr. Balmuth continued, “Earnings before interest and taxes for the 2012 fourth quarter grew to 13.7% of sales, up from 13.0% in the fourth quarter of 2011. For fiscal 2012, operating margin rose to a record 13.1%, a gain of 75 basis points on top of an 85 basis point increase in 2011. Profit margins for both the quarter and the full year mainly benefited from higher merchandise gross margin, leverage on operating expenses from the strong gains in same store sales and the impact of the 53rd week.”
Strong operating cash flows during 2012 continued to provide the resources to make capital investments in new store growth and infrastructure, as well as fund the completion of the Company’s prior stock repurchase program and ongoing dividends. A total of 7.5 million shares of common stock were repurchased during fiscal 2012, for an aggregate purchase price of $450 million, completing the two-year $900 million repurchase program announced in early 2011. In January 2013, the Company’s Board of Directors approved a new two-year $1.1 billion stock repurchase program as well as a 21% increase in the regular quarterly cash dividend to$.17 per share.
Mr. Balmuth noted, “The growth of our stock repurchase and dividend programs has been driven by the significant amounts of cash our business generates after self-funding store expansion and other capital needs. We have repurchased stock as planned every year since 1993, and this is the 19th consecutive increase since initiating our quarterly cash dividend in 1994. This consistent record reflects our unwavering commitment to enhancing stockholder value and returns.”
Looking ahead, Mr. Balmuth said, “We plan to stay intently focused on our core off-price mission of consistently delivering great bargains to our customers. This continues to be the key to maximizing our opportunities for growth in sales and profits over both the short and the long term.”
Discontinuing Monthly Sales Reporting
Beginning with the second quarter of fiscal 2013, the Company will no longer report monthly sales. Quarterly comparable store sales results will be provided with regularly scheduled earnings releases and conference calls.
In commenting, Mr. Balmuth said, “Reporting sales quarterly aligns us with the majority of other retailers who have already adopted this practice, while also increasing the focus on longer-term performance.”
The Company will host a conference call on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time to provide additional details concerning the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2012 results and management’s outlook and plans for fiscal 2013. A real-time audio webcast of the conference call will be available in the Investors section of the Company’s website, located at www.rossstores.com. An audio playback will be available at 404-537-3406, PIN # 22346952 until 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on March 28, 2013, as well as at the Company’s website address.