Ross Stores Inc. Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (ROST)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Ross Stores (Nasdaq: ROST) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B+ . The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, notable return on equity and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • ROSS STORES INC has improved earnings per share by 14.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, ROSS STORES INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.86 versus $2.31 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.52 versus $2.86).
  • ROST's revenue growth trails the industry average of 22.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Specialty Retail industry and the overall market, ROSS STORES INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • ROST's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.09 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.49 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.

Ross Stores, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates off-price retail apparel and home fashion stores under the Ross Dress for Less and dd's DISCOUNTS brand names in the United States. Ross Stores has a market cap of $12.95 billion and is part of the services sector and retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.6, equal to the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 7.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Ross Stores Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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