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Press release from PR Newswire

Ross Stores Reports March Same Store Sales Gain of 10%, Increases First Quarter Earnings Guidance

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Ross Stores Reports March Same Store Sales Gain of 10%, Increases First Quarter Earnings Guidance08:30 EDT Thursday, April 05, 2012PLEASANTON, Calif., April 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ross Stores, Inc. (Nasdaq: ROST) today reported that sales increased 15% to $955 million for the five weeks ended March 31, 2012, up from $828 million for the five weeks ended April 2, 2011. Comparable store sales for the month grew 10% over last year. For the nine weeks ended March 31, 2012, sales totaled $1.632 billion, a 15% increase over the $1.423 billion in sales for the nine weeks ended April 2, 2011. Comparable store sales for the nine weeks ended March 31, 2012 also grew 10% over the prior year period.Michael Balmuth, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are very pleased with our much stronger than expected sales in March. Favorable weather throughout most of our markets, along with our ongoing focus on value, drove broad-based merchandise and geographic sales gains during the month."  Mr. Balmuth continued, "This year Easter falls two weeks earlier than in 2011, and it is always difficult to predict the impact on sales of such holiday shifts. While we hope to do better, we continue to forecast a 1% to 2% increase in April same store sales. That said, based on our better-than-expected performance in February and March, we are raising our earnings per share guidance for the first quarter ending April 28, 2012 to $.89 to $.91, up from our prior forecast of $.82 to $.86. This new range represents a projected 20% to 23% increase over earnings per share of $.74 in the prior year period." Additional recorded information concerning today's press release and the Company's future outlook can be accessed by calling 203-369-3930, ID# 85784, from 8:30 a.m. Eastern time on April 5, 2012 through 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on April 6, 2012.   A transcript of these comments is available in the Investors section of the Company's website at www.rossstores.com.  The Company will report April 2012 sales results on Thursday, May 3, 2012.Forward-Looking Statements:  This press release and the recorded comments on our corporate website contain forward-looking statements regarding expected sales, earnings levels and other financial results in future periods that are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause our actual results to differ materially from management's current expectations. The words "plan," "expect," "target," "anticipate," "estimate," "believe," "forecast," "projected," "guidance," "looking ahead" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Risk factors for Ross Dress for Less® ("Ross") and dd's DISCOUNTS® include without limitation, competitive pressures in the apparel or home-related merchandise industry; changes in the level of consumer spending on or preferences for apparel or home-related merchandise; the impact from the macro-economic environment and financial and credit markets including but not limited to interest rates, recession, inflation, deflation, energy costs, tax rates and policy, unemployment trends, and fluctuating commodity costs; changes in geopolitical and geoeconomic conditions; unseasonable weather trends; disruptions in supply chain; lower than planned gross margin, including higher than planned markdowns and higher than expected inventory shortage; greater than planned operating costs; our ability to continue to purchase attractive brand-name merchandise at desirable discounts; our ability to attract and retain personnel with the retail talent necessary to execute our strategies; our ability to effectively operate our various supply chain, core merchandising and other information systems; our ability to improve our merchandising capabilities through the implementation of new processes and systems enhancements; achieving and maintaining targeted levels of productivity and efficiency in our distribution centers; and obtaining acceptable new store locations. Other risk factors are set forth in our SEC filings including without limitation, the Form 10-K for fiscal 2011 and Form 8-Ks for fiscal 2012.  The factors underlying our forecasts are dynamic and subject to change.  As a result, our forecasts speak only as of the date they are given and do not necessarily reflect our outlook at any other point in time.  We do not undertake to update or revise these forward-looking statements.Ross Stores, Inc. is an S&P 500, Fortune 500 and Nasdaq 100 (ROST) company headquartered in Pleasanton, California, with fiscal 2011 revenues of $8.6 billion.  The Company operates Ross Dress for Less® ("Ross"), the largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain in the United States with 1,051 locations in 30 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. Ross offers first-quality, in-season, name brand and designer apparel, accessories, footwear and home fashions for the entire family at everyday savings of 20% to 60% off department and specialty store regular prices. The Company also operates 95 dd's DISCOUNTS® in eight states that feature a more moderately-priced assortment of first-quality, in-season, name brand apparel, accessories, footwear and home fashions for the entire family at everyday savings of 20% to 70% off moderate department and discount store regular prices. Additional information is available at www.rossstores.com.Contact:   John Call Bobbi Chaville Group Senior Vice President, Senior Director, Investor RelationsChief Financial Officer  (925) 965-4289(925) 965-4315  bobbi.chaville@ros.comSOURCE Ross Stores, Inc.