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Ross (ROST) Fuels Growth with Solid Store Expansion Plans

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Operating through Ross Dress for Less and dd’s DISCOUNTS outlets, Ross Stores Inc. (ROST - Free Report) has been strongly focused on its store expansion strategy, to keep itself on the growth trajectory. This is well-evident from the store growth activities undertaken by Ross Stores in the past, and last month, in particular, when the company opened five new dd’s DISCOUNTS stores.

These five dd’s DISCOUNTS stores were opened toward the end of September, with three being in Texas, and one each in Florida and Colorado. While the latest stores took the dd’s DISCOUNTS store count in Texas and Florida to 42 and 30, respectively, the Colorado store marked its debut in the state. Further, these openings took this store format’s countrywide strength to 193, across 15 states. Clearly, Ross Stores is well on track to achieve its target of opening nearly 20 dd’s DISCOUNTS stores in fiscal 2016.

On delving deeper into Ross Stores’ expansion strategy, we note that in the last reported quarter, the company opened 31 new stores including 24 Ross Dress For Less and 7 dd's DISCOUNTS, thus meeting its planned store expansion target for the quarter. This had also marked the second leg of expansion under the company’s fiscal 2016 plan to add about 90 stores, comprising 70 Ross Dress for Less and 20 dd's DISCOUNTS.

In the third quarter, the company intends to open about 34 new stores, comprising 25 Ross Dress for Less and 9 dd’s DISCOUNTS. Such initiatives make us positive on Ross Stores’ growth potential and its ability to achieve the target of 2,500 stores, comprising 2,000 Ross Dress for Less and 500 dd’s DISCOUNTS, over the longer term.

While Ross stores currently operates roughly 1,500 off-price home fashion and apparel stores across 34 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, the aforementioned factors indicate that there is still immense room for growth, going forward.

Apart from Ross Stores, many other players like DICK's Sporting Goods Inc. (DKS - Free Report) , Nordstrom Inc. (JWN - Free Report) and DSW Inc. (DSW - Free Report) , are firing on all cylinders with regard to expansion of store base. While DICK'S Sporting operates as a full-line sporting goods retailer through more than 645 stores, Nordstrom is a leading fashion specialty retailer that currently operates 334 stores. DSW Inc. on the other hand, is a footwear and accessories retailer, which is going to hit the 500 store count soon.

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