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DG to surpass 11,000 stores in '13

Fourth quarter same store sales increased 3% at Dollar General as the company capped of another record year and indicated it would open 635 stores this year.

Total sales for the company’s 13 week fourth quarter ended February 1, increased 0.5%, to $4.21 billion compared to $4.19 billion during the 14 week fourth quarter the prior year. Excluding the extra week from the prior year’s fourth quarter, sales would have increased 8%. The company said its same store sales increase was driven by consumables and a mix of increased transaction size and customer traffic.

Net income for the fourth quarter was $317 million and earnings per share totaled 97 cents, compared to net income of $293 million, or earnings per share of 85 cents, which benefitted by six cents because of the extra week.

"Dollar General had yet another outstanding year in 2012 including exceptionally strong fourth quarter results," said chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling. "We grew our market share and invested strategically to continue to win with our customers. These results demonstrate the strength of our business strategy, and we believe we are very well-positioned for future growth."

During 2012, the Dollar General opened 625 new stores and remodeled or relocated 592 other stores to end the year with a total of 10,506 stores. It said it expects to open another 625 new stores this year and remodel or relocate 550 stores. The company has previously indicated the U.S. market is capable of accommodating as many as 20,000 Dollar General stores.

In 2013, the expansion of selling space and the upgrade of existing square footage is expected to combine with same store sales growth in the 4% to 6% range to produce total sales growth in the 10% to 12% range. Full year earnings per share are expected to total between $3.15 and $3.30.