PLEASANTON, CA-Ross Stores will continue to grow, but in existing markets, and will cut expansion of its dd’s Discounts chain, executives said at the company’s fourth-quarter conference call. For 2008, the retailer plans to open 65 to 70 net new Ross units, similar to 2007′s figures, but only five dd’s stores, down from 26 last year.

“We doubled the size of the dd’s Discounts chain in 2008, but new stores underperformed,” said Michael Balmuth, vice chairman, president and CEO. “For the next year or so, we’ll focus on gaining a better understanding of our customer. This will give us a better opportunity of fine-tuning our assortments to better address customer wants and needs.”

A focus on stronger existing markets for Ross Stores also means that store openings in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic will be limited in 2009 and 2010.

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