News

RT Analysis: Dollar General keeps growing

BY CSA STAFF

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 a share from the prior year’s $339 million or $1.04 a share. The company’s operating margin increased to 9.8% of sales compared to 8.1% the prior year while expenses accounted for 22.3% of sales compared to 23.2% the prior year.

Dollar General chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling noted the company had a great 2010 and that gave 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%.”

Expectations of improved profitability at Dollar General mean the company will keep the pedal to the metal in terms of expansion. As noted in the press release announcing fourth-quarter results, Dollar General already operates more stores in the United States than any other retailer and that is a distinction it won’t relinquish any time soon with more aggressive expansion planned for 2011. By this time next year the company will have roughly 10,000 stores due to the planned addition of 625 new units and 550 remodels.

That means more competition for all types of food, drug and mass competitors as those stores product assortments increasingly overlap with Dollar General and other extreme value operators who have steadily added food, consumables, HBA, apparel and seasonal items to their product mix during the past decade. Brands are being emphasized too. As Dollar General notes in its financial results release, it sells products from America’s most-trusted manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, Unilever, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Nabisco, Hanes, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.

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FINANCE

Finish Line Q4 profit up 12%

BY CSA STAFF

Indianapolis — The Finish Line said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit rose 12% with strong same-store sales.

The company reported net income of $34.3 million in the quarter that ended Feb. 26, compared with $30.6 million a year earlier.

The Finish Line said that excluding a charge for writing down the value of stores.

Revenue rose 2.7% to $384.6 million. Same-store sales rose 4%.

The company said operating margins were 9% close to its goal of double-digit margins for the full year.

For the full fiscal year, the company earned $68.8 million on sales of $1.23 billion, compared with $35.7 million on sales of $1.17 billion the previous year.

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News

Kenmore launches online reality series

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Kenmore announced that it has launched an online reality series, "So You Wanna Be a Designer."

For six weeks the reality show will stream live on Kenmore’s Facebook page to show budding designers at work, making their dreams a reality. Through the series, contestants will learn how to navigate the barriers of entering the design world: how to create and launch a brand, and how to price, present and promote designs successfully, among other things.

"Kenmore has long been on the leading edge of innovation, value and dependability. As our customers’ needs have evolved, we’ve worked to create products that meet those needs," said Scott Freidheim, EVP Sears Holdings and president Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard. "Our ability to engage with customers as they desire has also progressed. Today, we are increasingly leveraging technology and online social networks to engage with customers. This Kenmore Live Studio initiative is a first of its kind and we’re excited to be able to give a deserving designer the opportunity to realize their dream of breaking into the design industry through this reality series."

The winner of the series will take home a$20,000 cash prize and an innovative Kenmore Elite laundry pair.

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