Discount retailer, Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) reported on Wednesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings climbed 22% thanks to robust growth in sales amid higher footfalls. Earnings per share also edged past Company’s own estimate.
“On top of a very strong fourth-quarter performance in 2011, average basket size increased and customers responded this year in record numbers,” said President and Chief Executive Bob Sasser in a statement.
Shares rallied following the quarterly results announcement.
Dollar Tree, whose top line and bottom line soared in the recent past with cash strapped consumer flocking to its stores in the backdrop of slowdown in the U.S. economy and high rate of unemployment, will be challenged now as other discount retailers including bigger rivals such as Wal-Mart and Target, Costco in order to lure customers lost during the recession are resorting to discounts and promotions. Analysts believe that the high growth rate, which dollar Tree enjoyed enjoyed in the recent past will come under pressure amid intensifying competition.
In order to expand its traction, Dollar Tree has expanded product offerings, ranging from private label brands to frozen and refrigerated items.
For the fiscal fourth quarter ended February 2, Dollar Tree posted earnings of $228.6 million, or $1.01 a share, compared to $187.9 million, or 80 cents a share, in the year earlier quarter.
Revenue during the quarter jumped 15% to $2.25 billion. Revenue was partially boosted by additional sales week in the recently concluded quarter, the Company said.
Earlier in November the Company provided guidance for earnings of 97 cents to $1.02 a share on revenue of $2.2 billion to $2.26 billion.
Gross margin improved marginally to 37.9% from 37.8%.
Same-store sales, a key gauge on retail chain’s performance, rose 2.4%, down from 7.3% increase in the same period of last year.
For the current fiscal, the Company is expecting earnings to be in the range of $2.54 to $2.74 a share on revenue of $7.79 billion to $7.97 billion, which is lower than analysts’ consensus estimate for earnings of $2.81 a share on revenue of $7.9 billion, according to a data compiled by Thomson Reuters.
In the current quarter, the company anticipates earnings of 53 cents to 58 cents on revenue of $1.84 billion to $1.89 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting earnings of 58 cents on revenue of $1.87 billion.