• Net earnings grew 21% to $208.6m from $173.0m
  • Sales rose 14% to $2.36bn
  • Comparable store sales up 9% 

Off-price retailer Ross Stores Inc has raised its full-year guidance after higher sales helped it to a better-than-expected 21% hike in first quarter earnings.

Vice chairman and CEO Michael Balmuth said results for the three months to 28 April "were driven mainly by our ongoing ability to deliver a wide array of fresh and exciting name brand bargains to today's value-focused consumers.

"In addition, we believe that favourable weather across many of our markets also contributed to our above-plan performance." 

Operating margin for the period grew about 70 basis points to 14.4%.

Looking ahead the retailer, which operates the Ross Dress for Less and dd's Discounts chains, said it expects second quarter same-store sales to increase 3% to 4% and earnings per share rise to $.72 to $.75, up from last year's $.64. 

It also raised its full-year earnings per share guidance to $3.26 to $3.37, up from earlier forecasts of $3.12 to $3.27.