Ross’ Fourth-Quarter Sales Climb

Off-price retailer Ross Stores Inc. reported a very good fourth quarter in fiscal 2017.

Net sales for the fourth quarter were $4.1 billion, up 16 percent from the same quarter the previous year. Net earnings for the quarter, which ended Feb. 3, were $451 million compared to $301 million the previous year.

Same-store sales for the fourth quarter increased 5 percent compared to a 4 percent increase last year.

Barbara Rentler, chief executive officer of the Dublin, Calif.–based Ross, said that results, which were reported on March 6, beat the offpricer’s forecasts. “Despite our own difficult multiyear comparisons and a very competitive retail climate, sales and earnings were well ahead of our expectations for both the fourth quarter and the full year,” she said in a statement. “We are pleased with these results, which reflect our ongoing success in delivering broad assortments of compelling bargains to today’s value-driven shoppers.”

In a March 6 research note, Wall Street analyst Adrienne Yih of Wolfe Research wrote that Ross has been reaping the benefits from a good plan of action. “[Ross] once again proved its winning strategy of chasing into known winners and providing incredible value that resonates. [Ross’] versatility extends to economic cycles as well, performing well in tough times as consumers traded down and taking outsized market share during good times,” she wrote.

For its fiscal 2018 year, Ross is forecasting that sales will grow 1 percent to 2 percent. Rentler called the forecast “prudent.”

“While we are encouraged by our recent strong sales and earnings results, we again face our own challenging multiyear comparisons as well as a very competitive retail environment,” she said in a statement.

For the upcoming year, Ross plans to open 100 stores. It will open 75 Ross Dress for Less stores and 25 doors for its dd’s Discounts nameplate.