Ross Stores, Inc. reported that its April sales increased 15% to $480 million from $417 million a year ago. Same store sales for the month increased 8%. Due to strong trends, the off-pricer raised its estimates for the first quarter.


For the thirteen weeks ended May 3, sales totaled $1.556 billion, a 10% increase over the $1.411 billion a year ago. Comparable store sales advanced 3%.


Michael Balmuth, vice chairman, president and CEO, commented, “We are pleased with our healthy sales gains for both April and the first quarter, especially considering the challenging retail environment.  As expected, the month benefited from the Easter calendar shift.  More importantly, we believe our solid sales performance throughout the quarter was driven by our ability to continue to offer compelling bargains on fresh and exciting name brand fashions for the family and the home.”


Looking ahead, Balmuth said, “Our first quarter earnings are projected to benefit from a combination of above-plan sales, better-than-expected merchandise gross margin and favorable expense trends, including a real estate settlement that is adding income equivalent to about $.02 per share to the period.  As a result, earnings per share for the thirteen weeks ended May 3, 2008 are now estimated to be $.59 to $.60, up from our prior range of $.56 to $.58.  This forecast compares to earnings per share of $.48 for the first quarter ended May 5, 2007.”