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Dollar General Targets Nearly 15,000 Stores by 2017

Dollar General

Less than two weeks after Dollar General announced plans to open around 900 new stores in fiscal 2016, the discounter set itself the grand goal of opening 1,000 more in 2017.

The Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based company mapped out its growth strategy for investors on Thursday, which includes expanding its square footage by 6 to 8 percent in 2017.

“Dollar General has a powerful strategic plan that enables us to drive both the top line and bottom line to deliver strong financial returns as outlined in our growth model over the long-term. With strong cash flow and an efficient capital structure, we believe that we have a compelling opportunity to invest for growth while also returning cash to shareholders through consistent share repurchases and anticipated quarterly dividends,” Todd Vasos, chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Dollar General said it expects to open around 1,000 new stores and relocate or remodel about 900 locations next year. That’s in addition to the 900 new locations it wants to open this year, as well as the 875 existing stores it plans to remodel or relocate. If everything works out, the company will operate nearly 15,000 locations by the end of fiscal 2017.

Dollar General stores are small—about 7,200 square feet on average—but mighty. Earlier this month, the discounter announced that same-store sales grew for the 26th straight year in fiscal 2015, up 2.2% in the most recent quarter and 2.8% for the full year. As a result, net sales rose 7 percent to $5.29 billion in Q4 and increased 7.7% to $20.4 billion for the year ended Jan. 29.

And it intends to keep that momentum going, targeting a 7 to 10 percent growth in net sales and a 2 to 4 percent increase in comps in fiscal 2016. Meanwhile, operating profit is expected to rise by as much as 7 to 11 percent and earnings per share is projected to be at the high end of a 10 to 15 percent growth range.