Ross Stores Inc. on Thursday said it earned $249 million, or $1.20 a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $1.02 a share a year ago. Sales for the quarter reached $3 billion, with comparable-store sales up 6%, the retailer said. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected earnings of $1.11 a share on sales of $2.9 billion. The retailer announced an 18% increase in its dividend to $0.235 a share. Ross Stores also said its board of directors approved a $1.4 billion share buyback program through 2016. Shares of Ross Stores rose 3.2% in after-hours trading.
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