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Ross performs above plan in 2Q

Pleasanton, Calif. - Better-than-expected sales and a strong merchandise margin combined to give Ross Stores' a 17% boost in net income to $213 million during the second quarter.
Merchandise margin grew by 80 basis points during the quarter.
Sales for the quarter ended Aug. 3 rose 9% to $2.55 billion. Comps were up 4% on top of a 7% gain in the year-ago period and were primarily driven by higher average transaction.
Year to date, net earnings jumped 15% to $447.7 million. Sales climbed 8% to $5.09 billion, with comps up 3% on top of an 8% gain during the first half of the previous fiscal year.
Nonetheless, chairman and ceo Michale Balmuth said the company is maintaining a cautious outlook.
"We will continue to run our business with selling store inventories down in the low single-digit range," he said during the company's quarterly conference call yesterday. "We have the flexibility to buy closer to need, and at this point, have plenty of open to buy to take advantage of potential opportunities in the marketplace."


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