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Ross to Open 19 Stores Next Month

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Ross

Off-price stores are becoming as ubiquitous as Starbucks.

Ross Stores is set to add 19 Ross Dress for Less locations to its roster on October 10, part of its plan to open 70 new shops by the end of the year.

The openings include three in Wisconsin; two each in Illinois, Texas, California and Florida; and new stores in Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado, Idaho and Oregon.

Each location will average between 24,000 and 25,000 square feet.

In addition, the Dublin, California-based company opened four DD’s Discounts—in Yuma, Arizona, and Miami, and in the Texan cities of Del Rio and North Garland—on September 26.

This aggressive expansion strategy comes as the likes of Macy’s, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Saks continue to grow their own off-price operations and encroach on Ross’ territory.

Last week, Macy’s Inc. announced it would open two new Bloomingdale’s Outlet stores in Philadelphia and San Diego in November, while Saks revealed plans to open its 15th Saks Off Fifth location in California next August.

Nordstrom, meanwhile, is growing its Rack division faster than its full-price business.

But increased competition didn’t dent Ross’ second-quarter sales, which rose 9 percent to $2.97 billion for the three months ended August 1, while comp-store sales were up 4 percent compared to the year-ago period. But CEO Barbara Rentler warned that the second half of the year would remain challenging.

“The quarter benefited from higher merchandise margin and tight expense control that partially offset a planned increase in distribution costs related to recent infrastructure investments,” she said during a call with analysts late last month, noting, “While we hope to do better, we are maintaining a cautious outlook for the second half when we face more challenging sales and earnings comparisons. In addition, the macro-economic and retail landscapes remain uncertain.”

Ross currently operates more than 1,400 off-price apparel and home fashion stores under the Dress for Less and DD’s Discounts banners in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.

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