Dollar General keeps growing

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Dollar General maintained its momentum in 2010 by achieving record sales, profits and expansion; and it’s looking like 2011 will bring more of the same. Last year, Dollar General opened 600 new stores and remodeled or relocated another 504 units to end its fiscal year on Jan. 28 with 9,372 stores. The additional square footage combined with a 4.9% same-store sales increase enabled the company to grow total sales by 10.5% to roughly $13 billion.

Those sales were profitable too, with margin rates expanding and expenses declining. Full-year earnings nearly doubled to $628 million, or $1.82 per share, from the prior year’s $339 million or $1.04 per share. The company’s operating margin increased to 9.8% of sales compared with 8.1% the prior year, while expenses accounted for 22.3% of sales, compared with 23.2% the prior year.

Dollar General chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling noted the company had a great 2010 and that give it a tremendous foundation for continued growth.

“Our track record of executing our key initiatives over the past three years gives me confidence that the Dollar General team can successfully execute our 2011 goals,” Dreiling said. “We are off to a strong start in 2011. Even in a challenging macroeconomic environment, we expect to deliver strong financial performance in 2011, including top line growth of 11% to 13% and same store sales growth of 3% to 5%.”