Ross Stores Inc. shares fell more than 6% late Tuesday after the retailer beat fourth-quarter sales and earnings expectations but predicted a slower-than-expected pace of same-store sales growth for the year. Ross said it earned $451 million in the fourth quarter, or $1.19 a share, compared with $301 million, or 77 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Sales rose 16% to $4.1 billion, from $3.5 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected earnings of 94 cents a share on sales of $3.96 billion. Comparable-store sales for the quarter rose 5% compared with a 4% gain for the same period in the prior year. Ross forecast same-store sales growth of 1% to 2% for fiscal 2018, which contrasts with expectations of growth around 3.5%, according to FactSet. The retailer projected per-share earnings between $3.86 and $4.03 for 2018. The analysts surveyed by FactSet expect EPS of $3.29 for the year. “While we are encouraged by our recent strong sales and earnings results, we again face our own challenging multi-year comparisons as well as a very competitive retail environment. As a result, although we hope to do better, we continue to take a prudent approach to forecasting our business in 2018,” Chief Executive Barbara Rentler said in a statement. Ross also said its board of directors has approved an increase in its 2018 stock repurchase authorization to $1.075 billion, up from $875 million. The board also approved a quarterly cash dividend of 22.5 cents a share, up 41% over the prior year. The dividend is payable on March 30 to stockholders of record as of March 19. Ross shares ended the regular session up 3.2%.