Dollar General (DG) reported strong earnings results for the fourth quarter, with upbeat outlook for fiscal year 2018. Net sales grew marginally by 2% to $6.12 billion, driven by sales from new stores, offset modestly by closed stores’ sales. Profit surged by 71.9% to $712.1 million or $2.63 per share, helped mainly by the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share declined about 1% to $1.48 from $1.49 a year ago.
Same store sales were strong and increased 3.3% for the quarter and increased 2.7% for the year 2017. Dollar General opened 1,315 new stores and executed 2,079 total real estate projects in fiscal year 2017. The company also raised its dividend for the quarter by 12% to $0.29 a share and added $1 billion to its stock buyback program.
For fiscal 2018, the discount store chain expects sales to increase about 9%, with same-store sales growth estimated to be in the mid-two percent range. EPS is expected in the range of $5.95 to $6.15, which assumes an estimated effective tax rate of 22% to 23%.
Dollar General plans to open about 900 new stores, remodel 1,000 stores and relocate 100 stores in fiscal year 2018.