March 19, 2020, 8:51 a.m. EDT

Ross Stores reduces capex plans, withdraws guidance due to coronavirus

Ross Stores Inc. (NAS:ROST) said Thursday that sales trends have decelerated in the past week due to the coronavirus outbreak, driving the decision to reduce the off-price retailer's capital expenditures and expense plans and to realign inventory to meet the current demand. Ross Stores reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations on March 3, and announced plans to add 100 stores in 2020 on March 9. February sales were ahead of expectations. However, there have been mandatory store closures and more are expected. The company has withdrawn its first-quarter and full-year guidance, suspended its stock repurchase program and has drawn down $800 million from its credit facility. "I want to emphasize that our company began 2020 in a strong financial position," said Barbara Rentler, chief executive of Ross Stores, in a statement. "We are proactively taking these early actions to further increase our liquidity and flexibility to successfully manage through these challenging times." Ross Stores shares slipped 3.2% in Thursday premarket trading, and have fallen 34.6% over the past year. The S&P 500 index (S&P:SPX) is down 15.3% over the last 12 months.

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.