Dollar General Corp. reported Thursday fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that rose to $376.2 million, or $1.30 a share, from $355.4 million, or $1.17 a share, in the same period a year ago. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was $1.26. Sales rose to $5.29 billion from $4.94 billion, topping the FactSet consensus of $5.28 billion, with strength in candy and snacks, perishables, tobacco and food. Same-store sales increased 2.2%, beating the FactSet consensus of 1.9% growth. The discount retailer increased its quarterly dividend 14% to 25 cents a share, payable April 12 to shareholders of record on March 29. The company said it intends to buy back $1 billion worth of its shares in fiscal 2016. "We continue to take the appropriate strategic steps to ensure that we are investing in the Company for sustainable and consistent growth," said Chief Executive Todd Vasos. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has climbed 4.7% year to date, while the S&P 500 has lost 2.7%.
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