Dollar General met Wall Street expectations in the fourth quarter, with strong comparable store sales and net earnings.
In the fourth quarter ended February 2, Dollar General recorded net income of $712.2 million, or diluted earnings per share of $2.63, versus $414.2 million, or diluted earnings per share of $1.49, in the year-earlier period.
Adjusted for one-time charges, including provisional benefits from the recent changes to tax law, the company noted, earnings were $401.4 million, or $1.48 per diluted share, versus $414.2 million, or $1.49 per diluted share, in the year-prior period. Adjusted earnings per share matched a MarketBeat-published analyst average estimate.
Comparable store sales increased 3.3% in the quarter year over year, driven by gains in the consumables and seasonal categories partially offset by soft results in the apparel and home categories. Store transaction amount was up but customer traffic slipped slightly, according to Dollar General. Net sales were $6.13 billion versus $6.01 billion in the year-previous quarter.
In the fiscal year, Dollar General recorded net income of $1.54 billion, or $5.63 per diluted share, versus $1.25 billion, or $4.43 per diluted share, for 2016. Adjusted net income was $1.23 billion, or $4.49 per diluted share, versus $1.25 billion, or $4.43 per diluted share, in the year prior.
Comps increased 2.7% year over year, again driven by advances in the consumables and seasonal categories, partially offset by negative results in the home and apparel categories. Both store transaction amount and customer traffic gained, Dollar General maintained. Net sales were $23.47 billion versus $21.99 billion in the year-previous quarter.
“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,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General CEO. “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.”