PLEASANTON, Calif.-Fourth-quarter net income for Ross Stores totaled $192 million, up 19 percent from the fourth quarter of last year.
For the fiscal year that ended Jan. 28, Ross Stores posted an 18.5 percent increase in net income, to $657.2 million. Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and CEO, attributed Ross Stores’ improved bottom line a combination of higher merchandise gross margin, reduced shortage costs and leverage on operating expenses from strong sales gains for both the quarter and the year.
Net sales in the quarter increased 12 percent to $2.4 billion, including a gain of 7 percent in same-store sales. For the fiscal year, net sales rose 9.4 percent to $8.6 billion, with a same-store sales pickup of 5 percent.
While selling, general and administrative expenses increased 6.9 percent in the quarter, they fell 65 basis points as a percentage of sales to 14.3 percent. Gross margin rose six basis points to 27.2 percent.
Looking ahead, Balmuth predicted “respectable increases” in revenues and earnings per share, based on Ross Stores’ ability to offer “terrific name-brand bargains” while running its stores on much lower inventories.