GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn.-Higher gross margin and reduced interest expense helped Dollar General to firm its net income by 8.5 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter, to $317.4 million.
For the fiscal year ending on Feb. 1, the dollar-store retailer’s net income totaled $952.7 million, up 24.3 percent from the prior fiscal year. Net sales rose 0.5 percent in the quarter to $4.2 billion, including a same-store sales increase of 3 percent. For the year, net sales gained 8.2 percent to $16 billion, including a 4.7 percent pickup in same-store sales.
Gross margin rose 34 basis points to 32.5 percent, helped by improved transportation efficiencies and higher markups on merchandise sold. Interest expense was slashed by 31.5 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 0.9 percent in dollars and six basis points as a percentage of sales, to 20.1 percent.
Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO, termed 2012 “yet another outstanding year…including exceptionally strong fourth-quarter results. We grew our market share and invested strategically to continue to win with our customers.”
For the current fiscal year, Dollar General has projected a sales increase of from 10 to 12 percent, with a gain in same-store sales of from 4 to 6 percent. The company cautioned, “The volatility of the macroeconomic environment continues to pressure the consumer … Management continues to closely monitor customers’ responses to the economic and competitive environments.”