The company is in the midst of an announced expansion, though individual locations have shuttered.
This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: Wikipedia.org, RetailDive.com, RetailLeader.com, KSBY.com, LocalMint.com, SeekingAlpha.com, and FourSquare.com.
This article represents the latest in a series that attempts to elucidate the truth behind internet rumors of business closures.
Wikipedia features a comprehensive overview of the Ross Dress For Less chain, which opened in 1950. The page offers a unique perspective, as the numbers listed have not been updated since 2018:
Ross Stores, Inc., operating under the brand name Ross Dress for Less, is an American chain of discount department stores headquartered in Dublin, California. It is the largest off-price retailer in the U.S.; as of 2018, Ross operates 1,483 stores in 37 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Guam.
According to ScrapeHero.com, current numbers tell a larger tale: There are 1,670 Ross Stores locations in the United States as of June 23, 2022. The state with the most number of Ross Stores locations in the US is California, with 334 locations, which is 20% of all Ross Stores locations in America.
Within four years, counting the pandemic as a factor, Ross has added nearly 200 U.S. locations, and yet it has not been unusual for stores to close.
Let us explore further.
Ross Dress For Less, 2022
An October, 2021 RetailDive.com article, “With 28 New Stores, Ross Polishes Off its 2021 Growth Plans,” states: Ross Stores will be finished, at least for the year, with its string of store-opening announcements, on Monday saying that its 2021 footprint growth plans will be fulfilled once its latest locations open this month. In September and October the retailer opened 18 Ross Dress for Less and 10 DD’s Discount locations. The company this year will have opened a total of 65 locations, per a company press release.
RetailLeader.com echoed the optimism months later. In its March 8 piece, “Ross Will Open 100 New Stores in 2022,” further expansion was reported: The retailer currently operates a combined total of 1,952 Ross Dress for Less and dd's Discounts locations in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. "We recently raised our store potential targets for both Ross and dd's Discounts,” Gregg McGillis, group executive vice president, property development, said in a statement. “Our return to stronger unit growth in 2022 reflects our belief that Ross can ultimately grow to 2,900 locations and dd's Discounts can become a chain of 700 stores given consumers' ongoing focus on value and convenience…”
Though the news was indeed positive, stores closing since the pandemic include:
- According to KSBY.com, a location in downtown San Luis Obispo, CA, permanently shuttered.
- LocalMint.com lists the company’s Westwood, CA location as “permanently closed.”
- A San Jose location has shuttered its doors, per FourSquare.com.
Other locations have permanently closed just prior to the pandemic, including a prime outlet in Seattle, WA, in 2019.
In a recent report published by SeekingAlpha.com, titled “Ross Stores: A Disappointing Start to 2022,” the news is more balanced: Ross Stores released its Q1 results last week, reporting net sales of ~$4.33 billion, a 4% decline from the year-ago period. The soft results were related to a broad-based slowdown for the majority of Q1, and Ross Stores has now reeled in its FY2022 guidance estimates. Compounding matters, inflationary pressures and supply chain headwinds are not helping margins; annual EPS is now expected to decline year-over-year.
On the side of balance, the article goes on to state the company is positioned well if consumers trade down in this current weak economic environment, and the valuation has improved, suggesting any pullback below $70 should present a buying opportunity.
An implication as the article continues is stocks can continue to fall based on internal decisions.
Ross Dress For Less has historically been one of the most financially successful of all such discount outlets. As with so many others in this realm, individual store closings have been strategic in nature, and will likely continue to be.
They are not representative of long-term business issues. On the contrary, the company remains in the midst of a substantial expansion.
Thank you for reading.