It continues to pay dividends to sell deeply discounted name brand apparel in no frills stores.
Ross Stores (ROST) - Get Ross Stores, Inc. Report joined the ranks of TJX Companies (TJX) - Get TJX Companies Inc Report on Tuesday in reporting solid fourth quarter earnings, with the bottom line coming in at 77 cents a share, or up 17% from the prior year. Net earnings jumped 14% to $301 million, and sales for the fiscal fourth quarter grew by 8% to $3.5 billion.
And with more upscale competitors such as Macy's (M) - Get Macy's Inc Report retreating and closing stores throughout the country, Ross is clearly on a different path: it will be adding new locations in 2017, both with its Ross Dress for Less and dd's Discounts concepts.
"We are very pleased with our better-than-expected sales and earnings results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year, especially given our strong multiyear comparisons and the highly competitive and promotional holiday season," said Ross CEO Barbara Rentler in a press release. "Our results continued to benefit from our ability to offer customers great values on a wide assortment of gifts and fashions for the family and the home."
Rentler said during an earnings call that especially strong areas for the company were in shoes and menswear, while sales at stores located in the Midwest were solid.
For the full year, Ross reported a 13% increase in earnings to $2.83 a share. Sales for the 2016 fiscal year increased 8% to $12.9 billion, with comparable store sales gained 4% on top of a 4% increase in 2015.
The company's board approved a new program to repurchase $1.75 billion of its common stock over the next two fiscal years. At current prices, this new repurchase program represents about 6% of Ross' total market value and a 25% increase over the prior two-year $1.4 billion authorization, completed last month. In addition, the board signed off on a raise in the quarterly cash dividend to 16 cents per share, up 19% on top of a 15% increase in the prior year. This quarterly dividend is payable on March 31, 2017, to stockholders of record as of March 10, 2017.
Shares closed at $68.35 Tuesday, down slightly.
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