Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) shares plummeted in Thursday’s extended session after a seriously disappointing earnings release.
The Dublin, California-based discount retailer missed on both top and bottom lines for the first quarter while noting sizable contractions in sales.
Of particular note, comparable store sales declined 7% year over year, while operating margin fell 340 basis points from 2021. Additionally, merchandise inventory ballooned to 2.67 million from 1.7 million in 2021.
“We are disappointed with our lower-than-expected first quarter results,” CEO Barbara Rentier said. “We knew fiscal 2022 would be a difficult year to predict, especially the first half when we were facing last year’s record levels of government stimulus and significant customer pent-up demand as COVID restrictions eased. The external environment has also proven extremely challenging as the Russia-Ukraine conflict has exacerbated inflationary pressures on the consumer not seen in 40 years.”
She cited impacts from higher freight and labor costs as particularly problematic for the business, prompting the negative print.
Moving forward, these headwinds are not expected to improve swiftly. As a result, management updated guidance to reflect more conservative targets. Rentier updated forecasts for same store sales in the second quarter to decrease between 4% and 6% and earnings per share to fall in the range of $0.99 to $1.07, well below $1.39 in the prior year.
For the full year, comparable store sales are set to decline 2% to 4% while earnings per share are estimated to reach $4.34 to $4.58 as compared to $4.87 in 2021.
“While the landscape in early 2022 has been tougher than expected and the year may prove to be more difficult than initially anticipated, we remain confident in our ability to successfully navigate through this period,” Rentier concluded.
Despite her optimism, shares fell over 17% on the earnings results.