The shortened holiday season didn’t seem to affect Ross Stores as the company reported a 4% same stores sales increase and other positive financial metrics.
Ross Stores is heading in 2020 with considerable momentum and in some respects defying larger industry trends as is does not sell online. Fourth quarter sales were $4.4 billion and full year sales reached $16 billion. Fourth quarter profits increased 7% to $1.28 on net income of $456 million and full year profits increased 8% to $4.60 on net income of $1.7 billion.
The company ended the year with 1,806 stores and plans to open another 100 location in 2020, including 19 stores on March 7.
Ross Stores is led by retail veteran Barbara Rentler who has served as CEO of the company since 2014. From 2009 to May 2014, she was president and chief merchandising officer, Ross Dress for Less and executive vice president, merchandising, from 2006 to 2009. She also served at dd’s DISCOUNTS as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer from 2005 to 2006 and senior vice president and chief merchandising officer from 2004 to 2005. Prior to that, she held various merchandising positions since joining Ross Stores in 1986.
“We delivered strong sales and earnings growth for both the fourth quarter and fiscal year. Our ongoing ability to offer compelling bargains to our customers enabled us to achieve these results despite our own challenging multi-year comparisons and a fiercely competitive holiday season,” Renter said. “The increases to our shareholder payouts for 2020 reflect our ongoing confidence in the company’s ability to generate significant amounts of cash after funding our growth and the other capital needs of our business.”
Looking ahead, Rentler said the company enters 2020 facing its own strong long-term sales and earnings results plus ongoing uncertainty in the macro-economic, political, and retail landscapes.
“Our guidance also does not reflect the potential unknown impacts from the evolving coronavirus outbreak. While we are closely monitoring the situation, there remains a high level of uncertainty over supply chain disruptions in China. In addition, it is unclear how a further possible spread of the coronavirus could negatively impact U.S. consumer demand,” Rentler said.
For its current fiscal year, Ross Stores in projecting same store sales growth of 1% to 2%. The 100 stores it expects to open will be comprised of 75 Ross Dress for Less and 25 dd’s DISCOUNTS locations.