Why Dollar General Earnings Are Too Cheap for Investors

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Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) released its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday. The discount retailer said that it had $1.84 in earnings per share (EPS) and $6.65 billion in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates of $1.88 in EPS and revenue of $6.61 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $1.48 on $6.13 billion.

Overall, fourth-quarter sales increased 8.5% year over year, with same-store sales increasing 4.0% in the same time. This net sales increase included positive sales contributions from new stores and growth in same-store sales, modestly offset by the impact of store closures. Same-store sales were driven by increases in average transaction amount and customer traffic.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2020, Dollar General expects to see net sales growth of roughly 7%, same-store sales growth of 2.5% and EPS in the range of $6.30 to $6.50. Consensus estimates call for $6.65 in EPS and $27.5 billion in revenue for the year.

The board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.32 per share on common stock, which is a 10% increase over the prior quarterly dividend. The dividend is payable on or before April 23, 2019, to shareholders of record on April 9.

Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos commented:

During the fourth quarter we delivered strong same-store sales growth, driven by performance in both consumable and non-consumable product sales, which resulted in our highest two-year same-store sales stack in 21 quarters. We also continued to make progress executing our Digital and Non-Consumables strategic initiatives, while staying true to our ongoing operating priorities. Looking ahead to 2019, we are excited to introduce two new transformational strategic initiatives, DG Fresh and Fast Track. DG Fresh, which is designed to enable self-distribution of fresh and frozen products, is already up and running in approximately 300 stores and Fast Track, which we believe will enhance in-store labor productivity and customer convenience, is launching soon. Our team is very excited about the future, and I believe we remain well-positioned to continue delivering best-in-class value and convenience to our customers and creating long-term shareholder value.

Shares of Dollar General closed Wednesday at $120.68, in a 52-week range of $86.87 to $121.27. The consensus price target is $121.44. Following the announcement, the stock was down 6.5% at $112.90 in early trading indications Thursday.

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