PLEASANTON, Calif. Ross Stores reported earnings per share for the 13 weeks ended July 31 of $1.07, up from 82 cents for the 13 weeks ended Aug. 1, 2009. These results reflect a 30% increase on top of a 52% gain in the second quarter of 2009. Net earnings for the second quarter of 2010 grew 25% to a record $129.3 million, from $103.4 million in the second quarter of 2009, according to the company. Sales for the 13 weeks ended July 31 increased 8% to $1.912 billion, with comparable-store sales up 4% on top of a 3% gain in the prior year.
For the six months ended July 31, 2010, earnings per share were $2.24, up from $1.55 for the six months ended August 1, 2009. These results represent 45% growth on top of a 37% increase in earnings per share during the first half of 2009. Net earnings for the six months ended July 31 grew to a record $271.6 million, up 39% from $194.8 million in the prior year period. Sales for the first six months of 2010 increased 11% to $3.847 billion, with comparable-store sales up 7% on top of a 3% gain last year.
Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and CEO, commented, "We are pleased with the solid sales gains and healthy earnings increases we delivered in the second quarter and first six months of 2010. Our profit growth for both periods is especially noteworthy, considering it was on top of robust double digit gains in the prior year. Our ability to deliver compelling bargains, while operating our business on much lower inventories, remains the primary driver of our strong results. The best performing merchandise categories during the second quarter and year to date periods were home, dresses and shoes. Geographic trends were relatively broadbased, with the strongest performance in Florida."
Looking ahead, Balmuth said, "Predicting the future in today's uncertain macro-economic and retail climate remains challenging. We also face extremely tough comparisons in the second half of the year, as same-store sales grew 9% and earnings per share rose 67% in the prior year period. As a result, we are maintaining a somewhat cautious outlook concerning our sales and earnings targets for the second half of 2010."
For the 13 weeks ending Oct. 30, the company projects that same-store sales will grow 1% to 2% on top of an 8% increase in the prior year. Third-quarter 2010 earnings per share are forecast to be in the range of 79 cents to 83 cents compared with 84 cents in last year's third quarter, which included a 9 cent benefit from better-than-expected shortage results in 2009.