Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) released its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday. The company said that it had $1.48 in earnings per share (EPS) on $6.13 billion in revenue, compared with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for $1.48 in EPS on revenue of $6.21 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $1.49 and $6.01 billion in revenue.
During the quarter, same-store sales increased 3.3% from the 2016 fourth quarter due to an increase in average transaction amount, partially offset by a slight decline in customer traffic. Same-store sales were driven by positive results in the consumables and seasonal categories, partially offset by negative results in the apparel and home categories.
Looking ahead to the 2018 full year, the company expects to see net sales to increase approximately 9%, with same-store sales growth estimated to be in the mid-2% range, and EPS of $5.95 to $6.15. The consensus estimates call for $5.58 in EPS on $25.45 billion in revenue.
The board of directors approved a quarterly cash dividend of $0.29 per share, which is a 12% increase over the prior quarterly dividend, which will be payable on or before April 24, to shareholders of record of the company’s common stock on April 10.
On the books, Dollar General’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $267.44 million at the end of the quarter, up from $187.92 million in the same period from last year.
Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO, commented:
I am pleased with our overall fourth quarter performance, as we delivered strong same-store sales growth of 3.3%, while achieving a healthy rate of gross margin expansion. For the year, we opened a record 1,315 new stores and delivered a same-store sales increase of 2.7%, marking our 28th consecutive year of positive same-store sales growth. At the same time, we proactively made significant investments in the business that we expect will contribute to sustainable sales and profit growth in the years ahead. As we move into 2018, we continue to build momentum behind initiatives that we believe will further enhance our strong value and convenience proposition with consumers and drive long-term success.
Shares of Dollar General closed Wednesday at $89.20, with a consensus analyst price target of $105.97 and a 52-week range of $65.97 to $105.82. Following the announcement, the stock was up over 7% at $96.01 in early trading indications Thursday.