PLEASANTON -- Pleasanton-based said its same-store sales rose 4 percent in October, slightly worse than what Wall Street expected, causing the retailer's shares to slump 6.3 percent on Thursday.

It was the last monthly sales report for Ross before the start of the crucial holiday shopping season in a few weeks. The discount apparel retailer's shares fell $3.82 to finish at $57.13.

"With October performing at the high end of our projections, we expect to report another quarter of solid, above-plan growth in both sales and earnings," Ross CEO Michael Balmuth said.

For the quarter that ended in October, sales totaled $2.26 billion. That was 11 percent above the sales for the August-October period of 2011.

"Our business continues to benefit from our ongoing ability to deliver a wide assortment of fresh and exciting name brand fashions to today's bargain-oriented consumers," Balmuth said.

Pleasanton-based Ross now expects per-share earnings for the recently completed quarter that ended on Oct. 27 to range from 71 cents to 72 cents. That is slightly above the retailer's prior guidance of 70 to 71 cents a share.

Higher margins for merchandise were the primary reason for the brighter outlook.

"We remain well positioned as a value retailer in the current environment," Balmuth said.

Contact George Avalos at 925-977-8477. Follow him at twitter.com/george_avalos.



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