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Dollar General shares drop 6.4% after Q4 earnings miss

Dollar General Corp.'s shares dropped 6.4% in premarket trading on March 14 after reporting fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that fell below analysts' expectations, as the company increased its quarterly dividend and provided guidance for fiscal 2019.

The discount retailer reported that adjusted diluted EPS for the three months ended Feb. 1 rose to $1.84 from $1.48 in the year-ago quarter but missed the mean consensus estimate for normalized EPS of $1.89, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

For fiscal 2019, the company said it expects diluted EPS to be between $6.30 and $6.50 and operating profit growth ranging from 4% to 6%. Net sales are expected to grow by about 7%, while the company expects about a 2.5% increase in same-store sales.

The company also plans to open 975 new stores, remodel 1,000 stores and relocate 100 stores in fiscal 2019. Dollar General also intends to repurchase about $1 billion of shares.

The discount retailer increased its quarterly dividend by 10% to 32 cents per share payable on or before April 23 to shareholders of record on April 9.

Dollar General reported adjusted net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 of $483.2 million compared to $401.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

Net sales for the fourth quarter increased 8.5% to $6.65 billion from $6.13 billion in the year-ago period, while same-store sales increased 4%.

"During the fourth quarter we delivered strong same-store sales growth, driven by performance in both consumable and non-consumable product sales, which resulted in our highest two-year same-store sales stack in 21 quarters," CEO Todd Vasos said.

For fiscal year 2018, adjusted net income grew to $1.59 billion, or $5.97 per share, from $1.23 billion, or $4.49 per share, in the year-ago period. The Market Intelligence consensus estimate for full-year adjusted EPS was $6.03. Net sales in fiscal 2018 rose 9.2% to $25.63 billion from $23.47 billion, with same-store sales increasing 3.2%

In premarket trading in New York, Dollar General shares were down $7.68 at $113.