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Dollar General Sees Best Customer Traffic, Comps Growth in 5 Years

Dollar General Sees Best Customer Traffic, Comps Growth in 5 Years
Based on its successful performance over the past three quarters, Dollar General is raising its full-year financial guidance

Dollar General had what the retailer is calling a "strong" third quarter, with net sales increasing 8.9% — hitting $7 billion — and same-store sales up 4.6%. Results for the 13-week period ended Nov. 1 included positive sales from new stores, having passed the 16,000 store mark during this time period, and increases in basket size and foot traffic. 

“The quarter was highlighted by our best customer traffic and same-store sales increases in nearly five years, as well as double-digit growth in both operating profit and diluted EPS," said Todd Vasos, Dollar General's CEO. "We continue to execute well on many fronts, while maintaining our focus on delivering value and convenience for our customers. As a result of our performance through the first three quarters of 2019 and outlook for the fourth quarter, we are raising our full-year financial guidance as we work to finish a strong year.”

Dollar General noted growth in consumables, seasonal, home and apparel categories. Also during the third quarter, operating profit increased 11.1% to $491.4 million and diluted earnings per share (EPS) rose 12.7% to $1.42. 

For the 39-week period ended Nov. 1, net sales increased 8.5% to $20.6 billion, compared with $19 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales increased 4.1% compared with the 2018 period. 

As for DG Fresh, Vasos says that Dollar General is currently self-distributing frozen and refrigerated goods to approximately 4,900 stores out of four facilities, with the number of stores expected to increase to 5,500 and a fifth DG Fresh facility to begin operation by year-end. 

At the store level of DG Fresh, "during the first three quarters we added nearly 35,000 cooler doors across our store base," Vasos says. "In total, we expect to install more than 40,000 cooler doors this year as we continue to build on our multi-year track record of growth in cooler doors and associated sales."

Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based Dollar General operates 16,094 stores in 44 states, and employs about 140,000 associates. 

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