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Ross Stores Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2005 Results

PLEASANTON, Calif., March 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ross Stores, Inc. (Nasdaq: ROST) today reported that net earnings for the 13 weeks ended January 28, 2006 increased 37% to $71.0 million, compared to $51.8 million for the 13 weeks ended January 29, 2005. Earnings per share for the 13 weeks ended January 28, 2006 grew 40% to $.49, compared to earnings per share of $.35 for the prior year period.

For the 2005 fiscal year ended January 28, 2006, net earnings totaled $199.6 million, and earnings per share were $1.36, compared to net earnings of $169.9 million and earnings per share of $1.13 for the 2004 fiscal year ended January 29, 2005. Fiscal 2004 results include a non-cash pre-tax charge of approximately $15.8 million, or $.06 per share, to write-down the value of the Company's former headquarters and distribution center in Newark, California to its estimated fair market value.

Sales for the fourth quarter ended January 28, 2006 increased 16% to $1.411 billion, with comparable store sales up 6% over the prior year. For the 2005 fiscal year ended January 28, 2006, sales increased 17% to $4.944 billion, with comparable store sales up 6% over the prior year.

Michael Balmuth, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are pleased with the solid earnings growth we realized in the fourth quarter of 2005, which was driven by a combination of strong sales gains and expansion in operating margin. Gross profit margin for the quarter rose about 185 basis points, partially offset by an approximate 70 basis point increase in selling, general and administrative expenses mainly related to higher incentive plan costs."

Mr. Balmuth continued, "For the full 2005 fiscal year, earnings benefited from a solid rebound in sales, partially offset by a combination of higher- than-expected markdowns related to transitional systems and distribution issues earlier in the year, higher expenses related to inventory shortage, and higher incentive plan and information technology costs compared to fiscal 2004."

"We are pleased to report that healthy operating cash flows during 2005 continued to provide the resources to fund capital investments in new store growth and infrastructure. During fiscal 2005, $176 million in capital expenditures supported the addition of 75 net new Ross locations, ten dd's DISCOUNTS(R) stores, the purchase of a new warehouse facility in Moreno Valley, California, and other various information technology and infrastructure investments," said Mr. Balmuth.

"We also continued to enhance stockholder value through our share repurchase and dividend programs. During 2005, we completed the two-year $350 million stock repurchase program authorized by our Board of Directors in 2004, buying back a total of 6.4 million shares of common stock in 2005, for an aggregate purchase of $175 million. In addition, in November 2005, our Board of Directors authorized a new $400 million two-year stock repurchase program for 2006 and 2007 and approved a 20% increase in our quarterly cash dividend," Mr. Balmuth concluded.

The Company will host a conference call on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time to communicate additional details concerning the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2005 results and management's outlook and plans for 2006. A real time audio webcast of the conference call will be available at An audio playback will be available at (402) 220-5900, PIN #2342 through March 22, 2006.

Forward-Looking Statements: This press release and the recorded comments and transcript on the Company's website contain forward-looking statements regarding expected sales and earnings levels that are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from management's current expectations. The words "plan," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "believe," "forecast," "projected," "guidance," "looking ahead" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Risk factors for Ross Stores and dd's DISCOUNTS(R) include, without limitation, the Company's ability to effectively operate its various supply chain, core merchandising and other information systems, including generation of all necessary data and reports in a timely and cost effective manner; its ability to improve its micro-merchandising capabilities through the implementation of new processes and systems enhancements; achieving and maintaining targeted levels of productivity and efficiency in its distribution centers; obtaining acceptable new store locations; competitive pressures in the apparel industry; changes in the level of consumer spending on or preferences for apparel or home-related merchandise; changes in geopolitical and general economic 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; the Company's ability to continue to purchase attractive brand-name merchandise at desirable discounts; the Company's ability to identify and successfully enter new geographic markets; and the Company's ability to attract and retain personnel with the talent necessary to execute its strategies. Other risk factors are detailed in the Company's SEC filings including, without limitation, the Form 10-K for fiscal 2004, the Form 10-Q's for fiscal 2005, and the Form 8-K's for fiscal 2005 and 2006. 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 the Company's outlook at any other point in time. The Company does not undertake to update or revise these forward-looking statements.

Ross Stores, Inc., a Fortune 500 and Nasdaq 100 (ROST) company headquartered in Pleasanton, California, is the nation's second largest off- price company with fiscal 2005 revenues of $4.9 billion. As of January 28, 2006, the Company operated 714 Ross stores and 20 dd's DISCOUNTS(R) locations, compared to 639 Ross stores and 10 dd's DISCOUNTS(R) locations at the end of the same period last year. Ross Stores 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 percent off department and specialty store regular prices. dd's DISCOUNTS(R) features 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 percent off moderate department and discount store regular prices. Additional information is available on the Company's website at

                              ROSS STORES, INC.

    ($000, except stores and     Three Months Ended     Twelve Months Ended
     per share data,           January 28, January 29, January 28, January 29,
     unaudited)                   2006        2005        2006        2005

    Sales                      $1,411,488  $1,211,754  $4,944,179  $4,239,990

    Costs and Expenses
           Cost of goods sold   1,080,443     949,869   3,832,296   3,279,877
           Selling, general
            and administrative    215,795     176,767     786,439     664,395
           Impairment of long-
            lived assets               --          --          --      15,818
           Interest (income)
            expense, net           (1,559)         18      (2,898)        915
              Total costs and
               expenses         1,294,679   1,126,654   4,615,837   3,961,005

    Earnings before taxes         116,809      85,100     328,342     278,985

    Provision for taxes on
     earnings                      45,831      33,274     128,710     109,083
    Net earnings                  $70,978     $51,826    $199,632    $169,902

    Earnings per share
           Basic                    $0.50       $0.36       $1.38       $1.15
           Diluted                  $0.49       $0.35       $1.36       $1.13

    Weighted average shares
     outstanding (000)
           Basic                  142,439     145,662     144,325     147,468
           Diluted                144,665     148,563     146,532     150,380

    Dividends per share
           Cash dividends
            declared per share     $0.120      $0.093      $0.220      $0.178

    Stores open at end of period      734         649         734         649

                              ROSS STORES, INC.

                                                 January 28,       January 29,
    ($000, unaudited)                               2006              2005


    Current Assets
           Cash and cash equivalents              $191,767          $115,331
           Short-term investments                   12,763            67,400
           Accounts receivable                      29,122            31,154
           Merchandise inventory                   938,091           853,112
           Prepaid expenses and other               37,090            46,756
           Deferred income taxes                    20,014            14,184
                Total current assets             1,228,847         1,127,937

    Property and equipment, net                    639,852           556,178
    Other long-term assets                          58,837            57,100
    Long-term investments                           11,202                --
           Total assets                         $1,938,738        $1,741,215


    Current Liabilities
           Accounts payable, accrued
            expenses and other                    $803,397          $711,561
           Income taxes payable                     25,586                --
           Short-term debt                          50,000                --
                Total current liabilities          878,983           711,561

    Long-term debt                                      --            50,000
    Other long-term liabilities                    122,926           116,668
    Deferred income taxes                          100,657            97,417

    Commitments and contingencies

    Stockholders' equity                           836,172           765,569
            Total liabilities and
             stockholders' equity               $1,938,738        $1,741,215

                              ROSS STORES, INC.
                                                          Year Ended
                                                 January 28,       January 29,
     ($000, unaudited)                              2006              2005

     Net earnings                                 $199,632          $169,902
     Adjustments to reconcile net earnings to net
      cash provided by operating activities:
          Depreciation and amortization            110,848            94,593
          Impairment of long-lived assets               --            15,818
          Deferred income taxes                     (2,590)           28,101
          Tax benefit from equity issuance          21,947            14,802
     Change in assets and liabilities:
          Merchandise inventory                    (84,979)          (11,621)
          Other current assets, net                 11,698           (23,151)
          Accounts payable                          21,448             2,908
          Other current liabilities                 94,670            (5,123)
          Other long-term, net                       2,517            11,928
          Net cash provided by operating
           activities                              375,191           298,157

     Additions to property and equipment          (175,851)         (149,541)
     Sales (purchases) of investments               43,455           (67,400)
     Proceeds from sale of Newark Facility              --            17,400
          Net cash used in investing
           activities                             (132,396)         (199,541)

     Issuance of common stock related to
      stock plans                                   45,982            23,391
     Treasury stock purchased                       (6,626)           (7,962)
     Repurchase of common stock                   (175,000)         (175,000)
     Dividends paid                                (30,715)          (25,260)
          Net cash used in financing
           activities                             (166,359)         (184,831)
     Net increase (decrease) in cash and
      cash equivalents                              76,436           (86,215)
     Cash and cash equivalents:
          Beginning of year                        115,331           201,546
          End of year                             $191,767          $115,331

     Straight-line rent capitalized in
      build-out period                              $3,290            $4,277
     Change in fair value of investment
      securities                                       $20               $--

SOURCE Ross Stores, Inc.

CONTACT: John G. Call, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer,
+1-925-965-4315, or Katie Loughnot, Vice President, Investor Relations,
+1-925-965-4509, or, both of Ross Stores, Inc.
Web site: