Same-store sales increased 2.4% for the company in the fourth quarter, with a 3.8% increase in the Dollar Tree chain, and a 1% gain at Family Dollar. During the quarter, the retailer opened 137 stores, expanded or relocated 8 stores, and closed 46 stores. Retail selling square footage at fiscal year-end was approximately 116.6 million square feet.
“I am proud of our team’s performance in the fourth quarter and our results for 2017,” Dollar Tree president and chief executive officer Gary Philbin said in a statement. “For the quarter, we posted positive same-store sales in our Dollar Tree and Family Dollar banners, while improving gross margin and leveraging costs. For the year, we opened 603 new stores, exceeded $22 billion in sales and improved our operating margin by 80 basis points. I would like to thank each of our associates for their dedicated work and continued efforts throughout the year to deliver value, convenience and our brand standards to our customers every day.”
Despite the strong results, sales fell short of Wall Street’s expectations, and the company’s shares fell in early trading.
Looking ahead, Dollar Tree said it estimates that consolidated net sales for the first quarter of 2018 will range from $5.53 billion to $5.63 billion, based on a low single-digit increase in same-store sales for the combined enterprise. Diluted earnings per share are estimated to be in the range of $1.18 to $1.25.
For the full fiscal year, the company estimates that consolidated net sales will range from $22.70 billion to $23.12 billion, based on a low single-digit increase in same-store sales and 3.7% square footage growth. Fiscal 2018 diluted earnings per share are expected to range from $5.25 to $5.60.
“I am excited about entering a new year with significant opportunities ahead for our business,” Philbin said. “We are gaining traction from the work that has been done over the past several years and, with solid execution, we are confident we can build on our momentum to grow and improve our business. At the same time, we intend to continue focusing on delivering great values and convenience to our shoppers, while improving our operating performance and returning value to our shareholders for the long-term.”