The coronavirus outbreak drove robust results at Dollar General to a degree that exceeded Wall Street expectations.
The company reported net income of $650.4 million, or $2.56 per diluted share, for the first quarter versus $385 million, or $1.48 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2019. Diluted earnings per share topped a MarketBeat-published analyst consensus estimate of $1.67.
Comparable store sales gained 21.7% in the quarter year over year, Dollar General stated, driven by increases in both average transaction amount and customer traffic. The company noted that comps got a substantial boost from consumer behavior driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Net sales increased 27.6% to $8.45 billion in the quarter versus a year previous. Operating profit advanced 69.2% to $866.8 million compared to $512.2 million in the year-before period.
Home product sales advanced 32.6% to $498.3 million, while seasonal sales increased 24.6% to $917.9 million, consumables sales increased 28.6% to $6.7 billion and apparel sales increased 10.6% to $328.8 million versus the quarter a year before.
Dollar General finished the period with 16,500 stores versus 15,597 in the quarter a year past.
Todd Vasos, Dollar General CEO, said, “We are very grateful for those serving on the front lines, and particularly our store associates, distribution center employees and private fleet drivers for their incredible efforts. In the midst of a very challenging operating environment, our team members have been tirelessly committed to fulfilling the company’s mission of serving others, and we could not be more proud of how they have responded to the needs of our communities. As a result of their efforts, we are very pleased to report strong first quarter financial results. Looking ahead, we remain committed to our operating priorities and strategic initiatives to drive continued growth and meaningful long-term value for shareholders. As one of America’s essential retailers, we believe our unique brick-and-mortar footprint positions us well to continue delivering value and convenience for our customers, particularly at a time when they need us most.”