Ross Slumps on Weaker Q4 Figures

Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) reported weaker-than-expected results for its fourth quarter.

The company today reported earnings of $238 million or $0.67 per share. Sales for the fourth quarter of 2020 were $4.2 billion, with comparable store sales down 6%, reflecting the negative impact from the upsurge of COVID-19 during the peak holiday selling season.

For the 2020 fiscal year, earnings per share were $0.24 on net income of $85 million, which includes a one-time, pre-tax charge of $240 million or $0.54 per share for the year from the refinancing of $775 million in senior notes. Total sales for 2020 declined to $12.5 billion.

Said CEO Barbara Rentler, "While our fourth-quarter sales exceeded our expectations, the upsurge of the virus resulted in lower traffic, especially in California, our largest state, where we were subject to more stringent occupancy and operating hour restrictions."

Rentler continued, "Comparable store sales for the 13 weeks ending May 1, 2021 are projected to be down 1% to down 5% compared to the 13 weeks ended May 4, 2019. Earnings per share for the 2021 first quarter are forecast to be $0.74 to $0.86, reflecting the de-leveraging effect from the projected decline in same store sales, increased supply chain costs, higher wages, and ongoing COVID-related expenses."

The Company’s Board of Directors recently authorized the reinstatement of the quarterly cash dividend at a rate of $0.285 per share. This quarterly dividend is payable on March 31, to stockholders of record as of March 16.

Shares weakened in price $3.84, or 3.3%, to $113.80.