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Ross profit up 30%

Retail Editor 8 -- Home Textiles Today, August 19, 2010

Pleasanton, Calif. - Despite a heavily promotional second quarter, Ross Stores' earnings got a 30% boost.
Net income for the quarter ended July 31 was $129.3 million, or $1.07 per share, compared to $103.4 million, or 82 cents per share in the second quarter of 2009.
Sales rose 8% to $1.1 billion, with comps up 4%.
Gross margin grew by 110 basis points and selling, general and administrative expenses shrank by 30 basis ponts.
"Key drivers of our improved profit margins for both the second quarter and year-to-date periods were higher merchandise gross margin, a timing shift in distribution expenses related to packaway levels, lower shortage costs and leverage on other operating expenses," said Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and ceo.
For the full fiscal year, the company is projecting earnings per share in the range of $4.18 to $4.27, which would represent growth of 18% to 21%. Executives noted during the company's conference call today Ross Stores will be up against difficult comparisons during the second half of the year.

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