Ross Stores (Nasdaq: ROST) reported earnings on Nov. 15. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Oct. 27 (Q3), Ross Stores met expectations on revenues and met expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue grew and GAAP earnings per share grew.

Gross margins contracted, operating margins grew, net margins grew.

Revenue details
Ross Stores recorded revenue of $2.26 billion. The 20 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected to see a top line of $2.26 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 11% higher than the prior-year quarter's $2.05 billion.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.72. The 28 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.72 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.72 for Q3 were 14% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.63 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 27.1%, 10 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 11.3%, 40 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 7.1%, 10 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $2.71 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.05.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $9.67 billion. The average EPS estimate is $3.50.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a four-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 367 members out of 401 rating the stock outperform, and 34 members rating it underperform. Among 106 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 100 give Ross Stores a green thumbs-up, and six give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Ross Stores is outperform, with an average price target of $72.45.

If you're invested in retailers like Ross Stores, you should check out the concept that is The Motley Fool's top stock for 2012. Its founder wrote the book on big box retailing, and it's growing in increasingly important international markets. Click here for instant access to this free report.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.