Moves come as retailer reports strong Q2 results
Jeffery Owen, 49, has been named chief operating officer with responsibility for store operations, merchandising and supply chain. Owen, a Dollar General veteran with more than 25 years of retail experience, returned to the company in June 2015 to serve as executive vice president of store operations overseeing nearly 16,000 stores throughout the 44 states in which Dollar General currently operates, as well as the real estate and new store development functions. During Owen’s time in this role, Dollar General has added more than 3,500 stores and increased sales by more than 35%. Owen first joined Dollar General in 1992 as a store manager and has since held various roles of increasing responsibility.
Succeeding Owen as executive vice president of store operations is Steven Sunderland, who joined Dollar General in September 2014 as senior vice president of store operations, overseeing stores mainly in the southern half of the country. In his new role Sunderland will be responsible for the operations of all of Dollar General’s nearly 16,000 stores, as well as for the real estate and new store development functions.
Sunderland previously served as senior vice president of retail operations at Office Depot Inc. from November 2013 until January 2014, and before that held the same post at OfficeMax Inc. from May 2012 until November 2013. He previously was chief operating officer for Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. Sunderland began his career in 1987 as a store manager at Sears, where he went on to spend more than 20 years in positions of increasing responsibility, eventually serving as vice president of strategic operations.
“This enhanced management structure positively positions Dollar General as we continue moving forward as a leader in our sector,” Dollar General chief executive officer Todd Vasos said in a statement. “Jeff and Steve’s leadership, insights and demonstrated performance will help support efforts to continue to capture growth opportunities, drive our short and long term strategic focus and best serve our customers. At Dollar General, investing in our employees as a competitive advantage by providing employees with growth and development opportunities is one of our core values and a cornerstone of our culture. I am confident Jeff and Steve are the right leaders for these positions, and I would like to congratulate them both on their new roles.”
Dollar General’s results for the second fiscal quarter ended ended August 2 showed a company posting solid growth numbers.
Net sales increased 8.4% to $7.0 billion in the second quarter of 2019 compared to $6.4 billion in the second quarter of 2018. This net sales increase included positive sales contributions from new stores and growth in same-store sales, modestly offset by the impact of store closures. Same-store sales increased 4.0% compared to the second quarter of 2018, driven by increases in both average transaction amount and customer traffic. Same-store sales in the second quarter of 2019 included growth in the consumables, seasonal, and home categories, partially offset by a decline in the apparel category.
The Company reported net income of $426.6 million for the second quarter of 2019 compared to $407.2 million in the second quarter of 2018. Diluted EPS increased 8.6% to $1.65 for the second quarter of 2019 compared to diluted EPS of $1.52 in the second quarter of 2018.
“We are pleased with our second-quarter results, driven by strong performance on both the top and bottom lines,” Vasos said. “Our results this quarter were fueled by solid execution across many fronts, including category management, merchandise innovation, store operations, and continued progress with our strategic initiatives. In addition, we remained focused on disciplined cost control, which culminated in another quarter of strong earnings growth. Given our first-half performance and expectations for the remainder of the year, we are raising our full-year financial guidance.”
“Overall, we made solid progress on each of our key initiatives and believe we are well positioned to drive continued growth as we move ahead. Importantly, the strength of our second-quarter performance further validates our belief that we are pursuing the right strategies to create meaningful long-term shareholder value.”
Dollar General has also updated its guidance for the current fiscal year, which ends on January 31. The company said it now expects net sales growth of approximately 8%, up from its previous expectation of about 7%. Dollar General expects to post same-store sales growth in the low-to-mid 3% range, up from its previous expectation of approximately 2.5%.
The company continues to expect share repurchases of approximately $1 billion, and capital expenditures in the range of $775 million to $825 million. Plans call for about 2,075 real estate projects in fiscal year 2019, including 975 new store openings, 1,000 mature store remodels, and 100 store relocations.