Winter Storm Elliott hurt December sales, raised expenses
GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Dollar General posted a 5.7% increase in same-store sales for the fourth quarter, according to preliminary results reported on Thursday. That is below the company’s previous expectation of an increase of about 6% to 7%. The company now expects diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter in the range of $2.91 to $2.96, compared to its previous expectation in the range of $3.15 to $3.30.
The company intends to provide its full financial results for the fiscal 2022 fourth quarter and full year on March 16.
For the fiscal year, same-store sales increased 4.3%, compared to the company’s previous expectation of being toward the upper end of a range of 4.0% to 4.5%, and the company expects diluted earnings per share growth in the range of approximately 4.5% to 5.0%, compared to its previous expectation of approximately 7% to 8%.
The company believes the lower-than-expected results are primarily attributable to lower-than-anticipated sales and higher-than-anticipated inventory damages, both of which were negatively impacted, to varying degrees, by Winter Storm Elliott during the fourth quarter. While both November and January same-store sales results were within the company’s expected guidance range for the fourth quarter at 6.7% and 6.5%, respectively, December’s same-store sales results were lower than anticipated at 4.5%, believed to be primarily as a result of the storm.
These figures are preliminary and unaudited. The company has not yet completed its annual financial close process for the fiscal 2022 fourth quarter and full year, and its independent auditors have not completed their audit of the company’s financial statements for the fiscal 2022 full year.
Dollar General said it will discuss its plans and expectations for the current fiscal year during its March 16 conference call, but noted that it expects same-store sales growth in the range of 3.0% to 3.5% for the fiscal year ending February 2, 2024. It expects that diluted earnings per share for the year will growth in the range of approximately 4% to 6%, with those results reflecting the anticipated negative impacts an approximately three percentage point hit due to higher interest expense in fiscal 2023, and an approximately four percentage point hit due to lapping the fiscal 2022 53rd week.
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