"For Dollar General, 2011 was another exceptional year," said chairman and chief executive officer Rick Dreiling.

Dollar General, chairman and chief executive officer Rick Dreiling,

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Record sales and profits for Dollar General

March 22nd, 2012

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. – "For Dollar General, 2011 was another exceptional year," said chairman and chief executive officer Rick Dreiling.

"We executed on our operating priorities and delivered strong financial performance while, at the same time, we were able to make significant investments which I believe will enable us to continue to achieve outstanding results," he said.

The results for both the quarter and the year benefited from an extra week in comparison with the fiscal 2010 periods. Even adjusting for that factor, however, Dollar General posted double-digit increases at both the top and bottom line.

Fourth quarter net sales jumped 20.1% to $4.19 billion, but even excluding $289 million of sales from the 53rd week, the top line grew 11.8% to $3.9 billion. Same-store sales rose 6.5%, driven by both greater customer traffic and higher average transaction.

Operating profit soared 24.5% to $508.2 million, while net income skyrocketed 31.4% to $292.5 million, or 85 cents per diluted share. Excluding a number of special items in both fiscal years, adjusted operating profit increased 25.5% to $518.5 million while adjusted net profit leapt 32.6% to $299 million, or 87 cents per diluted share. Analysts polled by FactSet expected 82 cents per share on revenue of $4.1 billion.

Full-year net income rose 22.1% to $766.7 million on a 13.6% increase in sales to $14.81 billion, while operating profit for the year expanded 17% to $1.49 billion. During the course of fiscal 2011 consumables assumed a greater share of the mix as sales rose 16.1% to $10.83 billion, or 73% of the top line. Seasonal products, which increased 8.6%, accounted for nearly 14% of sales, followed by home products with 6.8% of sales. The ongoing shift toward lower-margin consumables helped drive a drop of 31 basis points in full-year gross margin to 31.73% of sales.

"The strategies and investments we have put in place over the last four years have helped us capture the market share, customer loyalty and operating efficiencies that are driving our results," said Dreiling. "I believe those strategies and investments, along with the ones we have planned for 2012, will continue to serve us well. In fact, sales for the year are off to a strong start. We are expecting another year of profitable growth, including fiscal 2012 estimates of total sales growth of 10% to 11% on a comparable 52-week basis, same-store sales growth of 3% to 5%, and adjusted earnings per share of $2.65 to $2.75."

Analysts had predicted full-year earnings of $2.71 per share on revenue of $15.92 billion, and Dollar General’s positive outlook apparently pleased investors, as the company’s share price rose 3.4% to $46.25 in early trading Thursday.