QUOTE AND NEWS
SeekingAlpha  Sep 5  Comment 
By Geetanjali Gamel: Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST), one of the largest off-price retailers in the United States, has become a success story in the highly competitive retail industry, propelled by expert execution of a smart business model....
Market Intelligence Center  Sep 5  Comment 
MarketIntelligenceCenter.com’s patented algorithms have chosen the Nov. '14 $75.00 call for a couple of hedged-trading ideas on Ross Stores Inc (ROST). A traditional covered call on Ross Stores yields 2.64% (12.36% annualized, for comparison...
SeekingAlpha  Sep 3  Comment 
By Aurium Investments: Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST), the off-price fashion retailer, has been a good buy for investors over the last five years, gaining 235% against a 100% gain for the S&P 500. The company has expanded its store count from 1005 in...
SeekingAlpha  Sep 3  Comment 
By Amal Singh: Off-price retailer Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) has gained impressively after releasing its second-quarter results toward the end of August. The company turned in an impressive performance during the second quarter in spite of weak...
SeekingAlpha  Aug 26  Comment 
By George Hanley: Shareholders in discount retailer Tuesday Morning (NASDAQ: TUES) have enjoyed a good run over the past year, with the company's stock price up nearly 30%, a performance that was likely propelled by better than expected top-line...
SeekingAlpha  Aug 24  Comment 
By The Value Investor: Investors in Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) were very pleased with the company's second quarter results. The strong results and the solid guidance for the rest of the year resulted in investors cheering on the final trading day...
Benzinga  Aug 22  Comment 
Ross Stores (NASDAQ: ROST) shares gained more than seven percent Friday after beating second-quarter Street views, but analysts were divided on the company's outlook. The nation's third-largest off-price apparel retailer is expanding its...
Forbes  Aug 22  Comment 
In afternoon trading on Friday, Services stocks are the best performing sector, up 0.4%. Within that group, Ross Stores (NASD: ROST) and GameStop (NYSE: GME) are two of the day's stand-outs, showing a gain of 7.0% and 5.1%, respectively. Among the...
Financial Times  Aug 22  Comment 
Strong earnings also lifted a number of other retailers, with the S&P retail index up 0.7%, compared to the S&P 500’s loss of 0.2%
Benzinga  Aug 22  Comment 
In a report published Friday, Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly C. Greenberger reiterated an Overweight rating and $81.00 price target on Ross Stores (NASDAQ: ROST). In the report, Morgan Stanley noted, “ROST is a secular winner in the battle...




 

Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) is the second-largest off-price retailer in the United States, in terms of total sales, behind competitor TJX Companies. ROST operates two chains: Ross Dress for Less (Ross) and dd's Discounts, both of which sell apparel, accessories, footwear, and home fashion products. The company's chains are best known for having daily discounts of 20% - 70% off regular discount store prices; this is possible because ROST is a closeout retailer, meaning that it buys products directly from merchandise vendors and manufacuturers at very low prices due to shifts in supply and demand for products, manufacturer overruns, and canceled orders. Because these products are bought at such low prices, the company is able to sell them at steep discounts compared to normal discount store competitors.

The company targets price-conscious middle class consumers and consumers from the lower-income brackets who during recessions look to save money and focus more on value. Because ROST has made it one of its business priorities to provide customers with plenty of brand-named and designer merchandise, thrift-minded consumers can still buy their favorite clothes but at a much lower cost. A growing economy means that consumers are more willing to spend on discretionary goods and are willing to spend more money on higher quality items. ROST's bottom line will be negatively impacted if it cannot maintain its customer base.

Company Overview

Ross Stores is an off-price retailer that purchases unwanted inventory from name-brand manufacturers, department stores, and other retailers at an opportunistically low price. ROST then sells them at heavy discounts off the regular retail price to value-conscious consumers. ROST stores carry fewer types of retail items than department stores, but have expanded offerings over time to include things like maternity wear, small furniture, gourmet cookware, and jewelry.

Business Segments

The company reports its sales in six major business segments:

  • Ladies: 25% of net sales
  • Home Accents and Bed & Bath: 24% of net sales
  • Men's: 13% of net sales
  • Accessories, Lingerie, Fine Jewelry, and Fragrances: 13% of net sales
  • Shoes: 9% of net sales
  • Children's: 9% of net sales

Business Growth

FY 2010 (ended January 30, 2011)[1]

  • Net sales increased 9.5% to $7.8 billion.
  • Net income increased 25% to $554 million.

Trends and Forces

ROST Faces Challenges As Economy Turns Around

ROST targets not only lower-class consumers but also the price-conscious middle-class segment of the retail market because it sells brand-name items, at heavily discounted prices, which is preferred by middle-class consumers. During the economic downturn the company's business model appealed more to middle-class consumers as they became more price conscious but still wanted to maintain the quality of merchandise they purchased. Consequently, Ross Stores and many other discount retailers thrived during this period.

ROST faces new challenges as the economy begins to rebound. Its main challenge is keeping the price conscious middle-class customers it has gained during the recession. As the economy emerges from the recession, these middle-class consumers won't be as hesitant to spend money on discretionary goods and won't look to sacrifice quality for price. As a result, there is a tendency that these consumers will leave the discount retailers in favor of normal retailers or even luxury retailers. If this happens, ROST's bottom line will be negatively impacted as a result of fewer customers in stores.

Economic Downturn and Weak Retail Generates Larger Supply of Closeout Merchandise

Many retail stores struggle getting merchandise off store shelves during tough economic times. As a result, many retail stores were left with excess inventory. Additionally, bankrupt retailers, like Linens n' Things, entered the liquidation phase looking to get rid of merchandise by any means necessary. Both of these occurrences were highly advantageous for ROST, which relies on finding sources of closeout merchandise from brand-name retailers to maintain its store inventory of discounted goods. Furthermore, as general retailers and bankrupt companies were eager to clear out excess merchandise, ROST was able to purchase closeout merchandise at lower prices than usual, reducing cost and increasing profit margins.

Much of store's appeal comes from its ability to acquire a large and a variety of quality items. However as the economy begins to rebound, there will be fewer struggling general retailers needing help to clear inventory and fewer companies entering liquidation. As this happens, ROST will not be able to obtain items at the price and level it did during the recession. A smaller selection of quality items to choose from would turn potential customers away.

Competition

Ross faces direct competition in the off-price retail market, as well as from department and discount retailers. Competitors include:

  • TJX Companies (TJX), which includes brands such as Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, and is the market leader for domestic off-price retail. TJX has store locations throughout the US, as well as Canada, Ireland, the UK, and Puerto Rico.
  • Retail Ventures (RVI) includes off-price retailers such as the upscale off-price brand Filene’s Basement and the off-price shoe specialty brand DSW (DSW). RVI is based largely in the East and Midwest, though DSW has a presence in California and Texas.
  • Men's Wearhouse (MW), an off-price menswear retailer, which also includes the value brand K&G. Men's Wearhouse has locations in 45 states, as well as throughout Canada under the Moores brand.

References

  1. ROST 2010 10-K pg. 16
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