Ross More or Less on a Roll
By George Anderson
Ross Stores recent financial reports demonstrate that less can be more when it comes to both top and bottom line performance.
The clothing retailer with 633 stores operating under the Ross Dress for Less, Ross and dd’s discounts banners in 26 states recently reported outstanding monthly, quarterly and
annual figures with major improvements in total and same store sales as well as operating margins and earnings per share.
Ross reported a quarterly sales increase of 16 percent with same-store sales up six percent compared to the same period the year before. For the year, comp sales were up six
percent, as well.
In a conference call with analysts last week, John Call, senior vice president and CFO for Ross Stores, said the company had managed its sales improvements while keep inventory
levels “relatively flat on a comparable store basis.”
The company’s inventory position suggests the investment Ross has made in IT and other areas may be paying off. Ross has had issues in the past with its inventory management
In August of last year, the company’s vice chairman, president and CEO Michael Balmuth said, “Markdowns year-to-date have consistently been higher than planned. Although residual
inventory issues from 2004 and modest volatility around actual-versus-plan sales had an impact on markdown activities, we believe that the internal learning curve related to numerous
new system processes, procedures and information flow also has contributed to higher markdown levels. We believe we have addressed most of these transitional issues and that their
overall impact on margins should diminish going forward.”
The strongest operating regions for the company, according to Mr. Call, were the Southwest and Mid Atlantic. Both regions posted double-digit growth.
“Product categories that did best were Juniors and Shoes. Children’s and Men’s also posted healthy percentage gains in comparable store sales in the high single to low double
digit range,” he said.
Moderator’s Comment: What is your assessment of where Ross has been and where it is headed? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Ross Stores Reports Jan Sales, Estimated
Q4&2005 EPS And Projects EPS Ranges For Q1&FY 2006 – Ross Stores, Inc./PRNewswire-FirstCall
- Ross Stores Conference Call Transcript – Ross Stores, Inc./PRNewswire-FirstCall
- Ross Stores Reports Second Quarter Earnings
and Forecasted Second Half 2005 Sales and EPS Ranges – Ross Stores, Inc./PRNewswire-FirstCall