Off-pricer’s Q1 earnings beat Street

Expansion-minded Ross Stores turned in a solid performance in its first quarter amid what its CEO called “uncertainty and volatility” in the retail environment. 
The off-price retailer, which is opening some 80 to 90 stores annually, reported earnings per share for the quarter ended April 29, 2017 of $.82, up from $.73 in the year-ago period. Net earnings grew to $321 million, compared to $291 million in the prior year. 
Sales for the quarter increased 7% to $3.3 billion, in line with expectations. Same-store sales rose 3%.  
“We achieved respectable growth in both sales and earnings during the first quarter despite the uncertainty and volatility in the external environment,” said Barbara Rentler, CEO, Ross Stores. The retailer operates 1,363 Ross stores and 198 dd’s Discount locations. 
During the first quarter, Ross we repurchased 3.3 million shares of common stock for an aggregate price of $215 million. It remains on track to buy back a total of $875 million in common stock during fiscal 2017 under the new two-year $1.75 billion authorization approved the board in February.
For the second quarter ending July 29, 2017, Ross is forecasting same-store sales to be up 1% to 2%, on top of a 4% gain last year, with earnings per share of $.73 to $.76, up from $.71in the prior year period. Based on our first quarter results and guidance for the second quarter, it now projects earnings per share for the 53 weeks ending February 3, 2018 to be in the range of $3.07 to $3.17, compared to $2.83 last year.
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