Key sales measure rises at Ross for November

AP News
Posted: Dec 03, 2009 9:56 AM

Low-price clothing retailer Ross Stores Inc. said Thursday that its sales at store open at least a year climbed in November as shoppers embraced the company's deeply discounted products.

For the month of November, the figure climbed 8 percent, more than analysts expected. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected 6.1 percent increase.

Sales at stores open at least a year is an important indicator for retailers because it measures growth at existing locations and excludes those that open or close during the year.

The Pleasanton, Calif. company said its overall net sales climbed 12 percent to $635 million from $568 million one year ago.

President and CEO Michael Balmuth said the company's best sellers for the month included shoes, dresses and home goods.

Balmuth said business was improving for Ross in the second half of the year, and the all-important holiday shopping season was off to a "healthy start."

Ross reaffirmed its forecast for a 6 percent to 7 percent annual increase in sales at stores open at least a year. It expects the measure to climb 4 to 5 percent in January.

That makes it likely Ross will report a fourth-quarter per-share profit near the upper edge of its previous forecast of 88 cents to 94 cents, executives said.

Analysts expect Ross to earn 97 cents per share for the period.