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Ross Stores Second Quarter Earnings per Share Jump 41%

Retailer to Enter New Markets in Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee

NEWARK, Calif., Aug 20, 2002 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Ross Stores, Inc. (Nasdaq: ROST) today reported that net earnings for the 13 weeks ended August 3, 2002 grew 40% to $49.7 million, from $35.4 million for the 13 weeks ended August 4, 2001. Earnings per share for the same period increased 41% to $.62, from $.44 in the prior year. Current year second quarter sales rose 21% to $877 million, from $725 million for the quarter ended August 4, 2001. Comparable store sales for the period increased 9% over the prior year.

For the six months ended August 3, 2002, net earnings increased 39% to $97.4 million, compared to $70.0 million for the same period in 2001. Earnings per share for the first six months grew 39% to $1.21 from $.87 in the prior year. Sales for the first six months rose 21% to $1.697 billion, with same store sales up 10% for the period.

Michael Balmuth, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are very pleased with the strong gains we achieved in both sales and earnings during the second quarter and first six months of 2002. As we enter the fall season, our merchants continue to find an abundance of fresh and exciting name brand product in the marketplace for the family and the home at compelling values. In addition, our recent comparable store sales results remain geographically broadbased, and our back-to-school businesses of Juniors, Young Men's, Shoes, as well as the home categories, continue to post solid gains. As a result, we remain optimistic about achieving our targeted sales and earnings goals for the second half of 2002."

Mr. Balmuth continued, "The combination of strong gains during the second quarter in same store sales, healthy new store productivity and 13% unit growth drove the 21% increase in total sales. Operating margin expanded 117 basis points during the quarter to 9.3%, benefiting from improvements in both gross margin and expense ratios."

"Our success in new markets has been a key driver in generating stronger increases in top line sales over the past several quarters. Following our successful entry into the southeast states of Georgia, North and South Carolina in early 2001, we now plan to enter Alabama in the third quarter of this year and Louisiana and Tennessee in early 2003. We opened a record 35 net new stores during the first six months of 2002 and plan to add another 22 locations in the third quarter. After closing two older locations, we expect to end this year with 507 stores in 23 states," noted Mr. Balmuth.

Mr. Balmuth continued, "In early February, we announced that our Board of Directors approved a new two-year $300 million stock repurchase program. During the first six months of 2002, we repurchased 2.0 million shares of common stock for an aggregate investment of $79.4 million, ending the quarter with 78.1 million shares of common stock outstanding."

The company will provide additional details concerning its second quarter results and business outlook on a conference call to be held on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Participants may listen to a real time audio webcast of the conference call by visiting the company's web site located at A recorded version of the call will also be available until the end of the month at the web site address and via a telephone recording through August 27, 2002 at 402-220-5900, PIN #2342.

Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains certain forward- looking statements which are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from management's current expectations. The words "plan," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "believe" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Risk factors include obtaining acceptable new store locations, competitive pressures in the apparel industry, changes in general economic conditions, changes in the level of consumer spending on or preferences in apparel or home-related merchandise, the company's ability to successfully implement various new supply chain, financial and merchandising systems, unseasonable weather trends, and greater than planned operating costs. Other risk factors are detailed in the company's Form 10-K for fiscal 2001. 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. operates a national chain of off-price retail stores offering first quality, in-season, branded apparel and apparel-related merchandise for the entire family at prices that average 20% to 60% less than department and specialty stores, as well as merchandise for the home at similar savings. The company had 487 stores in operation as of August 3, 2002, compared to 431 stores at the end of the same period last year.

                                ROSS STORES, INC.

                                                   August 3,         August 4,
    ($000, unaudited)                                2002              2001


    Current Assets
           Cash and cash equivalents               $95,322           $38,956
           Accounts receivable                      25,867            20,364
           Merchandise inventory                   713,454           612,415
           Other current assets                     27,362            22,485
                Total Current Assets              $862,005          $694,220

           Property and equipment, net             356,177           312,528
           Lease rights, deferred income
            taxes and other assets                  37,626            40,273
                                                $1,255,808        $1,047,021


    Current Liabilities

           Accounts payable, accrued
            expenses and other                    $593,587          $408,210
           Income taxes payable                     30,095            42,217
                Total Current Liabilities         $623,682          $450,427

            Long-term debt                               0            50,000
            Other liabilities                       42,195            43,979
            Deferred Income Taxes                    7,646                 0

    Stockholders' Equity                           582,285           502,615
                                                $1,255,808        $1,047,021

                                ROSS STORES, INC.

                                    Three Months Ended     Six Months Ended
                                   August 3,  August 4,   August 3,  August 4,
    ($000, except per share data,
     unaudited)                      2002      2001        2002        2001

    Sales                          $876,932  $724,591  $1,696,542  $1,398,950

    Costs and Expenses
           Cost of goods sold and
            occupancy               607,660   505,393   1,163,691     969,921
           General, selling and
            administrative          174,731   147,989     346,952     287,226
           Depreciation and
            amortization             12,768    12,077      25,628      24,077
           Interest expense             184     1,050         408       2,705
                                    795,343   666,509   1,536,679   1,283,929

    Earnings before income taxes     81,589    58,082     159,863     115,021

    Provision for taxes on
     earnings                        31,901    22,710      62,506      44,973
    Net earnings                    $49,688   $35,372     $97,357     $70,048

    Earnings per share
           Basic                      $0.63     $0.44       $1.24       $0.87
           Diluted                    $0.62     $0.44       $1.21       $0.87

    Weighted average shares
           Basic                     78,434    79,967      78,650      80,122
           Diluted                   80,129    80,989      80,360      80,967

    Stores open end of period           487       431         487         431

SOURCE Ross Stores, Inc.

John G. Call
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
or Katie Loughnot
Vice President, Investor Relations
both of Ross Stores, Inc.

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