Dollar General Corporation Reports Strong Second Quarter 2018 Financial Results

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn.--August 30, 2018-- Dollar General Corporation (NYSE: DG) today reported financial results for its fiscal year 2018 second quarter (13 weeks) ended August 3, 2018.

“We delivered a strong second quarter and are proud of our team’s execution,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive officer. “Our results this quarter were driven by contributions from our mature store base, as well as the robust performance of our new stores. In addition, we maintained our disciplined focus on cost control, which culminated in another quarter of significant earnings growth. At the same time, we also continued to invest in our strategic initiatives and made meaningful progress advancing against our goals. We are grateful to our approximately 134,000 employees throughout the company who continued to provide our customers with the value and convenience they have come to expect from Dollar General, and we are looking forward to a solid second half.”

Second Quarter 2018 Highlights

Net sales increased 10.6% to $6.4 billion in the second quarter of 2018 compared to $5.8 billion in the second quarter of 2017. The net sales increase in the second quarter of 2018 was positively affected by the sales contributions from new stores and growth in same-store sales, modestly offset by the impact of store closures. Same-store sales increased 3.7% from the second quarter of 2017, driven by increases in average transaction amount and customer traffic. Growth in same-store sales was driven by positive results in the consumables, seasonal and apparel categories, partially offset by sales declines in the home category.

Gross profit as a percentage of net sales was 30.6% in the second quarter of 2018 compared to 30.7% in the second quarter of 2017, a decrease of seven basis points. This gross profit rate decrease was primarily attributable to a greater proportion of sales coming from consumables, which generally have a lower gross profit rate than other product categories, sales of lower margin products comprising a higher proportion of consumables sales, higher markdowns, and increased transportation costs. These factors were partially offset by an improved rate of inventory shrink and higher initial markups on inventory purchases.

Selling, general and administrative expenses (“SG&A”) as a percentage of net sales were 22.2% in the second quarter of 2018 compared to 22.3% in the second quarter of 2017, a decrease of eight basis points. This SG&A decrease as a percentage of net sales was primarily attributable to lower repairs and maintenance expenses, a reduction in lease termination expenses, lower fixed asset impairment costs, and a reduction in retail labor expenses as a percent of sales. These factors were partially offset by an increase in professional fees, higher incentive compensation expenses, and increased costs to support certain loss prevention initiatives.

The effective income tax rate in the second quarter of 2018 was 21.5% compared to 37.2% in the second quarter of 2017. The effective income tax rate for the second quarter of 2018 was lower than the second quarter of 2017 primarily due to the federal tax law changes contained in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) enacted in December 2017, including the change in the federal income tax rate to 21% in the 2018 period compared to 35% in the 2017 period.

The Company reported net income of $407 million, or diluted EPS of $1.52, for the second quarter of 2018 compared to net income of $295 million, or diluted EPS of $1.08, in the second quarter of 2017, an increase in diluted EPS of 40.7%. Diluted EPS for the second quarter of 2017 included an approximate $0.02 charge primarily for the lease termination costs related to the acquisition of the Dollar Express store locations.

26-Week Period Highlights

For the 2018 26-week period ended August 3, 2018, net sales increased 9.8% to $12.6 billion, compared to $11.4 billion in the comparable 2017 period. The net sales increase in the 2018 period was positively affected by the sales contributions from new stores and growth in same-store sales, modestly offset by the impact of store closures. Same-store sales increased 2.9% from the 2017 26-week period, driven by an increase in average transaction amount, partially offset by a decline in customer traffic. Growth in same-store sales for the period was driven by positive results in the consumables and seasonal categories, partially offset by sales declines in the apparel and home categories.

Gross profit as a percentage of net sales was 30.6% in the 2018 26-week period, compared to 30.5% in the comparable 2017 period, an increase of five basis points. The gross profit rate increase in the 2018 period was primarily attributable to higher initial markups on inventory purchases and an improved rate of inventory shrink. These factors were partially offset by a greater proportion of sales coming from consumables, which generally have a lower gross profit rate than other product categories, sales of lower margin products comprising a higher proportion of consumables sales, and increased transportation costs.

SG&A as a percentage of net sales was 22.3% in the 2018 26-week period compared to 22.1% in the comparable 2017 period, an increase of 26 basis points. This SG&A increase in the 2018 period as a percentage of net sales was primarily attributable to increased occupancy costs, utilities and professional fees, each of which increased at a rate greater than the increase in net sales. These factors were partially offset by reduced repairs and maintenance and lease termination expenses as a percentage of sales.

The effective income tax rate in the 2018 26-week period was 21.6% compared to 37.2% in the comparable 2017 period. The effective income tax rate was lower in the 2018 period primarily due to the federal tax law changes contained in the TCJA, including the change in the federal income tax rate to 21% in the 2018 period compared to 35% in the 2017 period.

The Company reported net income of $772 million, or diluted EPS of $2.88, for the 2018 26-week period, compared to net income of $574 million, or diluted EPS of $2.09, in the comparable 2017 period, an increase in diluted EPS of 37.8%. Diluted EPS for the 2017 26-week period included an approximate $0.02 charge primarily for the lease termination costs related to the acquisition of the Dollar Express store locations.

Merchandise Inventories

As of August 3, 2018, total merchandise inventories, at cost, were $3.90 billion compared to $3.46 billion as of August 4, 2017, an increase of approximately 3.9% on a per store basis.

Capital Expenditures

Total additions to property and equipment in the 2018 26-week period were $371 million, including approximately: $147 million for improvements, upgrades, remodels and relocations of existing stores; $113 million for distribution and transportation related projects; $81 million for new leased stores, primarily for leasehold improvements, fixtures and equipment; and $24 million for information systems upgrades and technology-related projects. During the 2018 26-week period, the Company opened 510 new stores, remodeled 643 stores and relocated 67 stores.

Share Repurchases

The Company repurchased $200 million of its common stock, or 2.1 million shares, under its share repurchase program in the second quarter of 2018, at an average price of $95.17 per share. From the inception of the share repurchase program in December 2011 through the end of the second quarter of 2018, the Company has repurchased 85.1 million shares of its common stock at an average price of $64.58 per share, for a total cost of $5.5 billion. The total remaining authorization for future repurchases was approximately $1.0 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2018. Under the authorization, purchases may be made in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions from time to time subject to market and other conditions. The authorization has no expiration date.

Dividend

On August 28, 2018, the Company’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.29 per share on the Company’s common stock, payable on or before October 23, 2018 to shareholders of record on October 9, 2018. While the Board of Directors intends to continue regular cash dividends, the declaration and amount of future dividends are subject to the sole discretion of the Board and will depend upon, among other things, the Company’s results of operations, cash requirements, financial condition, contractual restrictions, and other factors the Board may deem relevant in its sole discretion.

Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Guidance and Store Growth Outlook

The Company previously issued financial guidance and store growth outlook, in each case for the 52-week fiscal year ending February 1, 2019 (“fiscal year 2018”), on May 31, 2018. The Company is updating such prior guidance in full, as detailed below.

For the fiscal year 2018, the Company now expects net sales growth to be in the range of 9% to 9.3%. The Company is also raising its fiscal year 2018 same-store sales growth outlook to the mid-to-high two percent range. The Company continues to expect its fiscal year 2018 operating margin rate to be relatively unchanged compared with the fiscal year 2017 operating margin rate.

The Company is reiterating its diluted EPS guidance of $5.95 to $6.15 for fiscal year 2018. This diluted EPS guidance now assumes an effective tax rate at the lower end of the 22% to 23% range that the Company previously provided.

The Company continues to anticipate a cash benefit of approximately $300 million in fiscal 2018 as a result of the TCJA.

In addition, the Company continues to expect share repurchases for fiscal year 2018 to be approximately $850 million, and capital expenditures for fiscal year 2018 to be in the range of $725 million to $800 million.

The Company is also reiterating its plans to open approximately 900 new stores, remodel 1,000 stores and relocate 100 stores in fiscal year 2018.

Conference Call Information

The Company will hold a conference call on Thursday, August 30, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. CT/10:00 a.m. ET, hosted by Todd Vasos, chief executive officer, and John Garratt, chief financial officer. To participate via telephone, please call (877) 868-1301 at least 10 minutes before the conference call is scheduled to begin. The conference ID is 6591008. There will also be a live webcast of the call available at investor.dollargeneral.com under “News & Events, Events & Presentations.” A replay of the conference call will be available through Thursday, September 13, 2018, and will be accessible online or by calling (855) 859-2056. The conference ID for the replay is 6591008.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. Forward-looking statements include those regarding the Company’s outlook, plans and intentions including, but not limited to, statements made within the quotations of Mr. Vasos and in the sections entitled “Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Guidance and Store Growth Outlook,” “Share Repurchases,” and “Dividend”. A reader can identify forward-looking statements because they are not limited to historical fact or they use words such as “outlook,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “expect,” “estimate,” “assume,” “forecast,” “confident,” “opportunities,” “goal,” “prospect,” “positioned,” “intend,” “committed,” “continue,” ”future,” ”guidance,” “years ahead,” “looking ahead,” “looking forward,” “going forward,” “focused on,” “subject to,” or “will likely result,” and similar expressions that concern the Company’s strategy, plans, intentions or beliefs about future occurrences or results. These matters involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual performance of the Company to differ materially from that which the Company expected. Many of these statements are derived from the Company’s operating budgets and forecasts as of the date of this release, which are based on many detailed assumptions that the Company believes are reasonable. However, it is very difficult to predict the effect of known factors on the Company’s future results, and the Company cannot anticipate all factors that could affect future results that may be important to an investor. All forward-looking information should be evaluated in the context of these risks, uncertainties and other factors. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:

 

All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by these and other cautionary statements that the Company makes from time to time in its SEC filings and public communications. The Company cannot assure the reader that it will realize the results or developments the Company anticipates or, even if substantially realized, that they will result in the consequences or affect the Company or its operations in the way the Company expects. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made. The Company undertakes no obligation, and specifically disclaims any duty, to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances arising after the date on which they were made, except as otherwise required by law. As a result of these risks and uncertainties, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements included herein or that may be made elsewhere from time to time by, or on behalf of, the Company.


The entire press release including accompanying tables is available by clicking here. 


Investor Contacts:
Jennifer Beugelmans, 615-855-5537
Kevin Walker, 615-855-4954

Media Contacts:
Crystal Ghassemi, 615-855-5210