Shares of Ross Stores Inc. topped 4% late Thursday after the retailer reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and revenue. Ross said it earned $216 million, or 53 cents, in the quarter, compared with $193 million, or 46 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Sales reached $2.78 billion, compared with $2.6 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet expected the company to report 50 cents a share on sales of $2.2 billion in the quarter. Comparable-store sales were up 3%, Ross said. "These results demonstrate that customers continue to respond positively to the wide assortments of fresh and exciting bargains we offer throughout our stores," Chief Executive Barbara Rentler said in a statement. Ross kept its fourth-quarter guidance ahead of "ongoing uncertainty in the macro-economic environment, and a holiday season that will be highly promotional," Rentler said. The company forecast earnings per share of 60 cents to 63 cents a share in the fourth quarter, compared with 60 cents a share in the year-ago period, and earnings per share in the range of $2.45 to $2.48 for fiscal 2015. Shares of Ross had ended the regular session down 0.5%.
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