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Ross Stores Q4 Profit Meet Estimates, Revenues Top

Off-price retail chain Ross Stores, Inc. (ROST: Quote) reported Thursday a profit for the fourth quarter that increased 23 percent from last year, reflecting a 5 percent sales growth at established stores, improved margins and the impact of an additional week. Earnings per share for the quarter matched analysts' expectations, while quarterly revenues topped their estimates by a whisker.

The Pleasanton, California-based apparel and home accessories retailer posted net earnings of $236.60 million or $1.07 per share for the fourth quarter, higher than $191.95 million or $0.85 per share in the prior-year quarter.

On average, 25 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $1.07 per share in the fourth quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Sales for the quarter increased 15 percent to $2.76 billion from $2.40 billion in the same quarter last year, and topped twenty-one Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate of $2.75 billion by a whisker.

Comparable store sales were up 5 percent on top of a 7 percent increase in the year-ago quarter.

"Results for both periods benefited from our ongoing ability to deliver compelling bargains on a wide assortment of exciting name brand fashions for the family and the home to today's value-focused consumers," Balmuth added.

For fiscal 2012, the company reported net income of $786.76 million or $3.53 per share, higher than $657.17 million or $2.86 per share in the prior year. Sales for the full year grew 13 percent to $9.720 billion from $8.61 billion in the previous year. Same store sales grew 6 percent.

Analysts expected the company to report full-year 2012 earnings of $3.53 per share on annual revenues of $9.69 billion.

The company also noted that it is discontinuing monthly sales reporting as the majority of other retailers have already stopped the practice, while also increasing the focus on longer-term performance.

"We plan to stay intently focused on our core off-price mission of consistently delivering great bargains to our customers. This continues to be the key to maximizing our opportunities for growth in sales and profits over both the short and the long term," Vice Chairman and CEO Michael Balmuth said.

ROST closed Wednesday's regular trading session at $56.17, up $0.30 on a volume of 2.04 million shares. In the past 52-week period, the stock has been trading in a range of $52.01 to $70.82.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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