Increases in traffic and average ticket resulted in record first-quarter sales growth at Dollar Tree.
Consolidated net sales for the quarter were a record $2 billion, a 7.2% increase compared to $1.87 billion reported for last year’s first quarter. Consolidated comparable store sales increased 2% on a constant currency basis. Adjusted for the impact of Canadian currency fluctuations, the comparable-store sales increase was 1.9%.
Earnings per diluted share for the first quarter were $0.67, a 13.6% increase compared to earnings per diluted share of $0.59 reported for last year’s first quarter.
Discretionary business grew slightly faster than consumables and leading categories for the quarter included candy, check-out products, stationery and seasonal merchandise for Valentine’s and Easter.
“Our stores are currently filled with a balanced mix of consumable products and exciting variety merchandise for Summer Fun. Inventory is clean and fresh and our associates are focused on providing a great shopping experience for every customer, at every store, every day,” said CEO Bob Sasser.
The company continues to expand. During the first quarter, Dollar Tree opened 94 stores, closed six stores and expanded or relocated 28 stores. Retail selling square footage increased 6.8% compared to a year ago, to 44.0 million sq. ft.
Looking ahead, the company estimates sales for the second quarter to be in the range of $1.97 billion to $2.02 billion, based on low-single digit positive comparable-store sales. Diluted earnings per share are estimated to be in the range of $0.58 to $0.64.
Full year sales are now estimated to be in the range of $8.37 billion to $8.54 billion. This estimate is likewise based on a range of low-single digit positive comparable-store sales. Fiscal year 2014 diluted earnings per share are expected to be $2.94 to $3.12. These estimates assume no impact from potential additional share repurchase activity in 2014.
Dollar Tree operated 5,080 stores in 48 states and five Canadian Provinces as of May 3.