Ross Stores, Inc. saw sales of $561 million for the five weeks ended Oct. 4, 2008, a 5% increase over the $537 million in sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 6, 2007. Same store sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 4, 2008 declined 2% compared to sales during the same period last year.
For the eight months ended Oct. 4, 2008, sales were $4.3 billion, an 11% increase over the $3.9 billion in sales for the same period last year. Comparable store sales for the eight months rose 3%.
“During September, we experienced an unexpected slowdown from our healthy same store sales trend for the first seven months of the year. Weather was a significant factor during the month, as we estimate that the combination of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, Tropical Storm Hannah, and unseasonably warm weather throughout the western United States reduced comparable store sales by about 2%. We also believe that the recent disruptions in the credit and financial markets have had a negative impact on the consumer,” said Michael Balmuth, vice chairman, president and CEO.
He continued, “…Based on the heightened uncertainty in today’s macro-economic and retail landscape, and factoring in September’s performance, we believe it is prudent to adopt a more cautious outlook for the balance of the year. We are now planning same store sales to be relatively flat for October and flat to up 2% for the fourth quarter.”
“Better-than-planned shortage results and other expense savings are expected to offset much of the impact to gross margin from our more conservative sales outlook. Based on these assumptions, we are now projecting earnings per share (“EPS”) for the 13 weeks ending Nov. 1, 2008 to be toward the lower end of our current range of 42 cents to 44 cents, compared to 36 cents in the prior year. For the 13 weeks ending Jan. 31, 2009, we have widened our forecasted EPS range of 78 cents to 81 cents to 76 cents to 81 cents, compared to 70 cents in the prior year,” he concluded.