FINANCE

Off-pricer’s Q1 earnings beat Street

BY Marianne Wilson

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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FINANCE

Things are looking up at Gap, led by Old Navy

BY Marianne Wilson

Gap Inc.’s reported a 12% jump in first quarter profit amid another strong performance from its Old Navy division.

Net income rose to $143 million, or 36 cents per share, in the quarter ended April 29, from $127 million, or 32 cents per share, a year earlier. Its results easily beat the Street, which had predicted earnings of 29 cents per share.

Net sales for the quarter were $3.4 billion, about flat with last year and also better than expected. The translation of foreign currencies into U.S. dollars negatively impacted the company’s net sales for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 by about $11 million, Gap said.

Total same-store sales for the quarter rose 2%. Analysts had expected a 2% decrease. By brand, same-store rose 8% at Old Navy, and fell 4% at Gap and 4% at Banana Republic.

“We are pleased with our positive comp and earnings growth this quarter,” said Art Peck, president and CEO, Gap Inc. “We’ve made substantial improvements in product quality and fit, and our increasing responsive capabilities are enabling us to better react to trends and demand. While the retail environment continues to be challenging, we are focused on delivering the best possible product and customer experience, and our ability to leverage a portfolio of iconic brands and operating scale uniquely positions the company for long-term growth.”

The company also reaffirmed its full-year diluted earnings per share guidance to be in the range of $1.95 to $2.05.

The company ended the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 with 3,652 store locations in 50 countries, of which 3,186 were company-operated. It expects store count to be about flat at the end of fiscal year 2017 compared with fiscal year 2016, down from previous guidance of 40 net store openings.

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REAL ESTATE

Fort Worth’s West 7th district gets a new name

BY Al Urbanski

West Elm will be opening its first Fort Worth location in rebranded urban retail development in the town’s Cultural District.

Heretofore known as West 7th, The Woodmont Company decided to call upon a more colorfully named street in the neighborhood to rebrand the shopping and entertainment district as Crockett Row at West 7th.

“The Crockett Row brand will better distinguish the property’s popular restaurants, stores, and events to continue to attract visitors,” said Woodmont senior VP Peter Jacobsen.

In April, West Elm signed a lease for a 10,502-sq.-ft. space that will feature a selection of Texas-based creators of furniture and décor as part of its west elm LOCAL program. Woodmont has also recently signedThe Common Desk, a co-working space, and C.H. Robinson, to office spaces.

Crockett Row at West 7th will begin seeding its new name locally with a series of events including a Blues Brunch in July and a Local Filmmakers’ Festival with Film Fort Worth in October.

The property is managed by Vestar.


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