Ross Stores reported sales of $342 million for the four weeks ended October 30, 2004, a 14% increase over the $299 million in sales for the four weeks ended November 1, 2003. Comparable store sales during October rose 4% over the prior year.
For the 13 weeks ended October 30, 2004, sales rose 5% to $1.028 billion, compared to $977 million for the 13 weeks ended November 1, 2003. Comparable store sales for the third quarter declined 3% from the prior year period.
Sales for the 39 weeks ended October 30, 2004 rose 7% to $3.028 billion, compared to $2.822 billion for the 39 weeks ended November 1, 2003. Year-to-date, comparable store sales declined 1% from the prior year period.
Michael Balmuth, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said, “Same store sales in October outperformed our expectations, benefiting mainly from strength in California. Comparable store sales in our largest state rose 10% during the month after a 4% decline in the prior year when business was impacted by unseasonably warm weather and major wildfires throughout Southern California.”
“We continued to make progress during October in remedying the remaining merchant reporting issues related to our Core Merchandising System, and we are currently on track with our target of completing this work by the end of the fiscal year. As previously reported, our merchants have been receiving the information and trend data we consider most important to the buying process since the end of August,” said Mr. Balmuth.
Mr. Balmuth continued, “We recently sold our former corporate headquarters and distribution center in Newark, California for a net selling price of approximately $17 million, or slightly more than the current carrying cost of the property. This transaction is expected to result in a net gain during the third quarter of about $.01 per share.”
“Based on the stronger than expected sales in October, and inclusive of the aforementioned gain on the sale of the Newark property, we now estimate that earnings per share for the 13 weeks ended October 30, 2004 will be in the range of $.25 to $.26, compared to $.33 for the 13 weeks ended November 1, 2003. We expect to report final 2004 third quarter results on Tuesday, November 16, 2004,” said Mr. Balmuth.
“Looking ahead to the holiday season, we are maintaining our prior forecast for same store sales to decline in the 1% to 4% range for the 13 weeks ending January 29, 2005, compared to a 4% increase in the prior year. We also continue to forecast that fourth quarter earnings per share will be in the range of $.31 to $.37, compared to $.48 for the 13 weeks ended January 31, 2004,” concluded Mr. Balmuth.