By  on September 15, 2009

Dollar General Corp. took advantage of consumer thrift in the second quarter, more than tripling its profits.

In the quarter ended July 31, net income shot up 237.7 percent to $93.6 million from $27.7 million in the same 2008 quarter.

Driven by strong sales in health and beauty products and several other classifications, sales rose 11.2 percent, to $2.9 billion from $2.61 billion, and were up 8.6 percent on a same-store basis. Apparel sales increased 1.9 percent to $213.2 million, or 7.4 percent of sales, down from 8 percent of sales in the year-ago period.

The company said it has “made good progress on improving the timing, selection and management of our seasonal and apparel merchandise, adding items that are more trend-relevant.”

Helping to lift profits, gross margin improved to 31.2 percent of sales from 29.1 percent in the prior-year quarter. Selling, general and administrative expenses fell to 23.2 percent of sales from 23.6 percent in the 2008 quarter.

Average sales per square foot rose to $188 in the 52 weeks ended July 31, up from $171 in the previous 12-month period. “Our financial results continue to reflect our customers’ positive response to the changes we are making in our stores and are evidence of our ability to grow,” said Rick Dreiling, chairman and chief executive officer.

Last month, the Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based company began the regulatory procedure for a public offering of its shares.

 

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