PLEASANTON, CA-Ross Stores’ sales and earnings rose during the second quarter, though executives are more cautious due to what “could become a more competitive second half,” said Michael Balmuth, the discount-apparel retailer’s vice chairman, president and chief executive officer, during a conference call. Executives lowered their second-half same-store sales guidance to between 1% to 3% year over year from initial estimates of 3% to 4%.

For the second quarter ended Aug. 4 same-store sales were up 2%, while total sales rose 10%, to just over $1.4 billion. Net earnings came in at $50.9 million, up from $45.4 million during the same period a year ago.

Same-store sales were the strongest in California, rising 2%, and were worst in Florida, where they fell in the low-single digits. Women’s dresses were the best-performing product category, with comps exceeding 20%.

Ross opened 21 new Ross Dress For Less stores during the quarter and 46 year to date, brining its total to 817. Management is planning 24 new units for the current quarter. The retailer opened 11 of its lower-priced Dd’s Discounts stores in Q2, bringing its total to 45, and the chain is forecast to have 52 of those units by the end of the year.

Additionally, Ross’ management is also lowering earnings guidance for the year, from between $1.85 and $1.95 per share to from $1.80 to $1.90. Last year’s earnings came in at $1.70 per share.

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