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Here's What's Concerning About Ross Stores' (NASDAQ:ROST) Returns On Capital

If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. Ideally, a business will show two trends; firstly a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and secondly, an increasing amount of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. So when we looked at Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST), they do have a high ROCE, but we weren't exactly elated from how returns are trending.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What Is It?

Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Ross Stores:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.20 = US$2.0b ÷ (US$13b - US$3.6b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to January 2023).

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So, Ross Stores has an ROCE of 20%. That's a fantastic return and not only that, it outpaces the average of 14% earned by companies in a similar industry.

Check out our latest analysis for Ross Stores

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Ross Stores compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Ross Stores.

What Can We Tell From Ross Stores' ROCE Trend?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at Ross Stores doesn't inspire confidence. While it's comforting that the ROCE is high, five years ago it was 54%. Meanwhile, the business is utilizing more capital but this hasn't moved the needle much in terms of sales in the past 12 months, so this could reflect longer term investments. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.

The Bottom Line On Ross Stores' ROCE

In summary, Ross Stores is reinvesting funds back into the business for growth but unfortunately it looks like sales haven't increased much just yet. Since the stock has gained an impressive 44% over the last five years, investors must think there's better things to come. However, unless these underlying trends turn more positive, we wouldn't get our hopes up too high.

If you want to know some of the risks facing Ross Stores we've found 2 warning signs (1 is concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

Ross Stores is not the only stock earning high returns. If you'd like to see more, check out our free list of companies earning high returns on equity with solid fundamentals.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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