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Why Dollar General Stock Popped Today

Jeremy Bowman, The Motley Fool

What happened

Shares of Dollar General (NYSE: DG) were moving higher today after the discount retailer delivered a strong earnings report, beating estimates on the top and bottom lines and posting solid comparable-sales growth. As of 12:19 p.m. EDT, the stock was up 7.2%.

So what

Dollar General, which has more stores than any other retail banner in the country, said comparable sales increased 3.8% in the quarter, driving overall revenue up 8.3% to $6.62 billion. That topped analyst estimates at $6.56 billion.

The entrance to a Dollar General store.

Image source: Dollar General.

Operating profit grew more slowly in the period, increasing 4.5% to $512.2 million as the company sold more lower-margin consumables, and the company continued its aggressive store expansion, adding 240 locations in the quarter, remodeling 330 stores, and relocating 27 others.

Earnings per share increased from $1.36 to $1.48, helped by a slightly lower tax rate and share buybacks, which beat expectations at $1.39.

CEO Todd Vasos said, "Our team continued to make great progress on our strategic initiatives this quarter, while remaining focused on our four operating priorities." Those priorities include profitable sales growth and leveraging and reinforcing its strength as a low-cost operator.

Now what

For the year ahead, Dollar General reiterated its full-year guidance, calling for comparable sales growth of 2.5% and total revenue growth of 7%. On the bottom line, it sees earnings per share of $6.30 to $6.50, up from $5.97 a year ago.

The company also expects to complete 2,075 real estate projects, including 975 new store openings and 1,000 store remodels.

While Dollar General's guidance shows that bottom-line growth will continue to be modest, the company is executing effectively at a time when many retailers are struggling, and that's worth a few cheers from investors.

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Jeremy Bowman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.