Ross Stores, Inc. reported record earnings per share Friday for the 13 weeks ended Jan.30 of $1.16, up 53 percent from $.76 for the 13 weeks ended Jan. 31, 2009.
Ross Stores corporate offices are located in the CarrAmerica Center at 4440 Rosewood Dr., near Owens Drive in Pleasanton.
Ross reported net earnings for the 13 weeks ended in the same period this year grew to a record $142.9 million, up 47 percent from the $97.4 million for the same 13-week period a year ago. Sales for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30 grew 14 percent to $1.980 billion, with comparable store sales up 10 percent over the prior year.
For the 52 weeks ended Jan. 30, 2010, earnings per share grew 52 percent to $3.54, up from $2.33 for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 31, 2009. Net earnings for the 2009 fiscal year ended Jan. 30 grew 45 percent to a record $442.8 million, from $305.4 million for the 2008 fiscal year. Sales for the 2009 fiscal year increased 11 percent to $7.184 billion, with comparable store sales up 6 percent on top of a 2 percent gain in the prior year.
"We are exceptionally pleased with our outstanding sales and earnings results for the fourth quarter and full year," said Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and chief executive officer. "During one of the most challenging economic and retail environments, we not only generated stronger-than-planned revenues, but did so with record merchandise gross margins that drove double-digit operating profits as a percent of sales."
"The best performing merchandise categories for both the quarter and the year were shoes, dresses and home merchandise," he added. "Geographic trends were broad-based with all regions posting healthy comparable store sales gains for both periods."
Balmuth said that earnings before interest and taxes for the 2009 fourth quarter grew about 260 basis points to 11.7 percent of sales, up from 9.1 percent in the prior year period. This higher profit margin was mainly due to a 230 basis point improvement in cost of goods sold along with a 30 basis point decline in selling, general and administrative costs.
For the 2009 fiscal year, Ross Stores' operating margin increased about 250 basis points over the prior year to 10.1 percent of sales, driven by a 230 basis point decline in cost of goods sold combined with a 20 basis point reduction in selling, general and administrative expenses.
"Key drivers of our improved profitability for both the fourth quarter and the year were much higher merchandise gross margin, lower shortage costs and leverage on operating expenses from the strong gains in same store sales," Balmuth said.
"Healthy operating cash flows during the year continued to provide the resources to make capital investments in new store growth and infrastructure and fund our ongoing stock repurchase and dividend programs," he added.