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Ross beats expectations, but home still needs work

Pleasanton, Calif. - Ross Stores again posted better-than-expected results for both its second quarter and year-to-date periods, but unlike rival TJX, Ross' home business has not been a driver so far this year. The category has lagged apparel lately.

Ross is working to reverse that trend, noted Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and ceo.

"We think in home in the more recent periods we've had some execution issues, and we're in the process now of cleaning that up," he said. "We expect home to be back on track once that is done."

Revamping the home assortment "is an ongoing initiative" and improvements should be underway by the fourth quarter and into spring 2013, he added..

For the second quarter ended July 28, net earnings grew 23% to $182.0 million, with earnings per share up 27% to 81 cents. Sales increased 12% to $2.341 billion versus $2.089 billion, with comps up 7%.

Year to date, net earnings jumped 22% to $390.6 million, and earnings per share did even better, up 26% to $1.74. Sales increased 13% to $4.698 billion, with comps up 8%.

Ross is now forecasting fiscal year earnings per share in the range of $3.36 to $3.44, up from $2.86 in the previous year.

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