FINANCE

Ross Stores reports record quarter

BY CSA STAFF

Pleasanton, Calif. Evidence that the discount category continues to perform in the downturn, Ross Stores reported Thursday that its net earnings for the first quarter rose to a record $91.4 million, compared with $79.5 million in the year-ago period.

Sales for the quarter grew 9% to $1.7 billion, with comp-store sales up 3% on top of a 3% gain in the prior year.

According to Michael Balmuth, vice chairman, president and CEO, the company’s balance sheet and cash flows remain healthy. Looking ahead, he stated, “While the external environment remains challenging, our much-better-than-expected results year-to-date reflect that consumers are continuing to respond very favorably to the compelling values we offer. As a result, we have increased our sales and earnings outlook for the second quarter and the back half of 2009.”

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Target 1Q EPS down 6.8%

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target reported net earnings of $522 million for the first quarter ended May 2, compared with $602 million in the first quarter ended May 3, 2008. Earnings per share in the first quarter decreased 6.8% to 69 cents from 74 cents in the same period a year ago. All earnings per share figures refer to diluted earnings per share.

“Our first quarter earnings per share reflect disciplined execution of our strategy in a difficult environment,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Retail sales increased 0.4% in the first quarter to $14.4 billion in 2009 from $14.3 billion in 2008, due to the contribution from new store expansion partially offset by a 3.7% decline in comparable-store sales.

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Sam’s Club offering $15 memberships

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Sam’s Club has launched a $15 membership program for the summer. The special membership is available for purchase for a limited time between May 20 and June 7, during regular club hours and extends to new Advantage and Business members. Annual membership fees start at $35.

The membership program is part of Sam’s Club’s “100 Days of Summer” campaign promoting savings and tips for enjoying the summer season.

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