Unless you live in a suburb in California or Florida, you probably haven't heard much about Ross lately.
Despite that, the national discount chain is doing really well. It reported total sales of $10.23 billion for fiscal 2013, with same store sales up 3 percent on top of a 6 percent gain the year prior. On Wednesday, it announced the naming of a new CEO: Effective June 1, Barbara Rentler, president and chief merchandising officer of Ross Stores Inc., will succeed current CEO Michael Balmuth, who will become executive chairman.
Ross is the second largest off-price retailer in the country after TJX, which owns T.J. Maxx and Marshall's. But unlike Ross, T.J. Maxx has dedicated resources to courting fashion-conscious shoppers: There's that whole Maxxinista campaign; it also occasionally partners with fashion bloggers and even invited a bunch of them (including us) to their headquarters a few years ago.
Ross, on the other hand, has not really done anything to align itself with the fashion market. Nothing about it is aspirational or exclusive or relevant to what's going on in the fashion landscape, though the brands it sells are decent: Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Michael Kors and Nine West are all carried by the retailer.
Its low prices seem to be enough on their own. Ross, like its competitors, employs "opportunistic" buyers (the company's word), who travel to vendors year-round, purchasing merchandise that those brands couldn't sell at full price. Usually that merchandise comes from overproduction or cancelled orders. According to its website, it also buys different merchandise for different stores and keeps overhead lower with "no frills" stores, i.e. centralized checkout and simple displays. A recipe for success, it seems.
We leave you with the below video. I tried to find a '90s Ross commercial, but instead found this, which might be even better.