Ross Stores (NASDAQ: ROST ) has raised its guidance and boosted its dividend on the back of significant increases in monthly and annual sales figures. For the five weeks ending Feb. 2, the company's sales grew by 39% over the four weeks ended Jan. 28, 2012, to $672 million. In the 53 weeks ending Feb. 2, sales advanced 13% over the 52 weeks ended Jan. 28, 2012, to $9.7 billion.
Based on those results, the firm raised its EPS estimates for the quarter and year ending Feb. 2. For the quarter, it now expects earnings of $1.06-$1.07 per share, with $3.52-$3.53 for the year.
Ross boosted its dividend accordingly. The company is to pay $0.17 per share on March 29 to stockholders of record as of Feb. 22. This represents an increase of 21% from the most recent payout. The stock now yields 1.1% at an annualized rate.
The company also authorized a share buyback program of up to $1.1 billion of its stock. The program will be in force through its fiscal 2014. That represents a 22% increase over the prior two-year $900 million authorization that was completed in January 2013.