Shares of Dollar General Corp. surged 5.8% in premarket trade Thursday, after the discount retailer reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit and sales that beat expectations. For the quarter to Feb. 3, net income rose to $414.2 million, or $1.49 a share, from $376.2 million, or $1.30 a share, in the same period a year ago. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was $1.41. Revenue increased to $6.01 billion from $5.29 billion, beating the FactSet consensus of $5.96 billion. Same-store sales grew 1.0%, beating expectations of a 0.2% rise, as a decline in traffic was offset by an increase in average transaction amount. For fiscal 2017, the company expects EPS of $4.25 to $4.50, below the FactSet consensus of $4.67. Separately, Dollar General said it raised its quarterly dividend by 4% to 26 cents a share from 25 cents a share, payable April 25 to shareholders of record on April 11. In addition, Chief Merchandising Officer James Thorpe will retire effective April 15. The stock has declined 1.7% year to date through Wednesday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has lost 4.0% and the S&P 500 has gained 6.5%.
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