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Ross Stores calls home a driver in 2Q and ahead

Pleasanton, Calif. - Ross Stores' non-apparel categories, especially home, are emerging as a critical aspect of the chain's total business, and home was credited with helping to generate strong second quarter sales.

Vice chairman and ceo Michael Balmuth, noted Ross Stores is "very happy with that piece [non-apparel categories] of our business, driven by home. It keeps becoming a more important part of our total. And we are building our investment and merchant organization for it."

The home business is also showing resilience to cost increases in the coming seasons, Balmuth added.

"The rising prices we are going to be looking at are going to be less in our home business and footwear and more in apparel," he explained.

As it relates to cotton, Balmuth continued: "Our merchants very aware of the price dropping in cotton, so as we buy - and we bought in pack-away - we have been very aware of that, and the price points we've been looking for in the market reflect our knowledge of that, and our prices will be moderated by next spring."

Ross Stores Inc. earnings per share grew 20% in the second quarter to $1.28, with net earnings grew up 15% to $148.3 million.

Sales were up 9% to $2.09 billion; and comps increased 5% on top of a 4% gain in 2010.

Looking ahead, Balmuth said Ross Stores is being cautious in its outlook for the back half of the year, "mainly due to the unknown impact on consumers from the recent stock market volatility and increased economic uncertainty. It is also unclear how higher sourcing costs and expected price increases throughout all of retail will impact our business. As a result, although we hope to do better, our sales and earnings targets for the second half of 2011 remain unchanged."

In the third quarter, the company will open 14 new Ross Stores and 11 dd's Discounts.

 

 

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