DOLLAR GENERAL EARNINGS GROW 49.1 PERCENT IN FOURTH QUARTER

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NEW YORK--The rapidly-expanding Dollar General Corp. posted a 49.1 percent jump in fourth-quarter profits, on a 26.6 percent gain in sales.
For the quarter earnings, the Nashville, Tenn.-based discounter grew to $32.9 million, or 47 cents a share, beating Wall Street estimates of 44 cents.
Last year, the chain earned $22 million, or 32 cents.
The company opened 302 stores and closed 43 stores during fiscal 1995.
Gross margins rose to 30.41 percent from 28.92 percent a year ago. The discounter said that the improved margins reflected lower markdowns, higher markup on purchases and lower inventory shrinkage that more than offset lower purchase discounts.
Sales climbed 26.6 percent to $484.8 million from $383.1 million, and same-store sales grew 10.9 percent.
Soft-line sales accounted for 33 percent of total sales compared with 35 percent in the year-ago quarter. Hard lines accounted for 67 percent of sales against 65 percent last year. In the year ended Jan. 31, earnings jumped 51.6 percent to $73.6 million, or $1.07 a share, from $48.6 million, or 72 cents.
Sales rose 27.9 percent to $1.4 billion from $1.1 billion;same-store sales gained 13.5 percent.
At yearend, Dollar General operated 2,059 stores in 24 states.
Dollar General stock closed at 27 1/2, unchanged The New York Stock Exchange Tuesday.--Fairchild News Service

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