Ross Stores, Inc. reported sales during September increased 12% to $629 million from $561 million a year ago. Same store sales for the month rose 8%.

For the eight months ended October 3, 2009, sales totaled $4.647 billion, up 9% over the $4.262 billion in sales for the eight months ended October 4, 2008. Comparable store sales for the eight months ended October 3, 2009 increased 4% on top of a 3% gain in the prior year period.

Michael Balmuth, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “September comparable store sales exceeded our expectations for a 6% to 7% increase. We believe our performance for both the month and year-to-date periods reflects that our core strategy of delivering fresh and exciting name brand bargains continues to resonate with today's value-focused consumers. Merchandise and geographic trends remained relatively broad-based. Shoes, Home and Dresses were the top merchandise categories during the month, while the Mid Atlantic, Southeast and Texas were the best-performing markets.”

Looking ahead, Balmuth said, “I am pleased to report that earnings per share for the 13 weeks ending October 31, 2009 are now projected to be in the range of $.75 to $.77, a significant increase over $.44 in the third quarter of 2008. The forecasted upside from our previous earnings per share guidance of $.57-$.63 is being driven mainly by favorable shortage results from our annual physical inventory of stores in September. We believe our projected shrink for the year, which is now expected to be much lower than originally forecast, is benefiting from continued investments in our shortage control initiatives as well as the reductions we have made in selling store inventories. Our updated third quarter guidance also reflects stronger-than-planned sales and merchandise margins quarter-to-date and our continued expectation for a 5% to 6% same store sales gain in October.”

Balmuth concluded, “For the important holiday period, we continue to project a comparable store sales gain of 5% to 6% and earnings per share of $.88 to $.94 for the 13 weeks ending January 30, 2010. For the 2009 fiscal year ending January 30, 2010, earnings per share are now projected to be in the range of $3.18 to $3.26, a forecasted increase of 36% to 40% over $2.33 in fiscal 2008.”