Dollar General pleased with Q1 performance

The retailer saw comp-store sales increase over two years but decrease in the first quarter.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Dollar General reported same-store sales were up over 17% on a two-year stack basis, but decreased 4.6%, year over year, for the first quarter ended April 30. Net sales decreased 0.6% to $8.4 billion.

Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos said he was pleased with a strong start to fiscal 2021, citing the most recent round of government stimulus payments as a factor in helping the chain outperform its Q1 expectations. 

“During the first quarter, we executed more than 800 real estate projects, including new store openings in our popshelf and larger-footprint Dollar General formats. In addition, we remained focused on serving our customers, while further advancing our key strategic initiatives,” he said. “Looking ahead, we are excited about our plans and believe we are well-positioned to continue delivering long-term sustainable growth and value for our shareholders.”

Dollar General reported that the decrease in same-store sales compared with Q1 2020 was driven by a decline in customer traffic, partially offset by an increase in average transaction amount. Stock-up trips and increased shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago likely played a factor. 

Same-store sales in the first quarter of 2021 included a decline in the consumables category, but the retailer said growth in the seasonal, apparel, and home products categories were up and Dollar General said government stimulus payments had a significant positive effect on sales in its non-consumable product categories.

Gross profit as a percentage of net sales was 32.8% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 30.7% in the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 208 basis points. The company reported net income of $677.7 million for the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 4.2% compared with $650.4 million in the first quarter of 2020.