Ross Stores (ROST) reported on Thursday a 7% improvement in February sales, helped by stronger-than-expected gains in its established stores.

The operator of off-price retail apparel and home accessories store chains said sales during the four weeks ended Feb. 26 were $595 million, up from $554 million a year ago.

Comparable-store sales for the Pleasanton, Calif.-based company grew 3% on top of 11% last year, led by higher demand for dressers and Juniors apparel, particularly in its Mid-Atlantic and Florida markets.

“We are pleased to report February same store sales outperformed our forecast for flat to up 1%,” Ross CEO Michael Balmuth said in a statement. “While we are encouraged by our solid start to the year, the much more important March/April holiday selling period is still ahead.”

Ross kept its March and April sales forecast unchanged, with same-store sales expected to be down 2-3% in March and up 4-5% in April.

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