Dollar General (DG 2.19%) reported a 73% increase in earnings per share and a 27.6% increase in net sales for its fiscal first quarter ending May 1, 2020. The strong results have analysts boosting price targets on the stock today.
BMO Capital analyst Kelly Bania raised the firm's price target to $200 per share, while Anthony Chukumba from Loop Capital moved that firm's target up to $190 per share, with a hold rating. Both firms had previous price targets of $175 per share, and the analysts noted the strong first-quarter results as the reason for the increase.
Bania called Dollar General a "good executor" and a "market share gainer" as it capitalized on demand related to COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions. Chukumba also noted the pandemic-related increase in business, but believes the stock price already reflects most of those benefits.
In its earnings release, Dollar General highlighted the "exceptional efforts of employees" during the pandemic crisis, and said it paid out approximately $60 million in "appreciation bonuses" to its front-line workers. It also noted that it offered discounts for customers who are first responders, healthcare workers, or National Guard members.
Business was especially strong in March, the company said in its earnings call, as comparable store sales for that month surged 34.5%. Chief financial officer John Garratt said a 69.2% increase in operating profit was primarily due to higher sales related to the pandemic. He also noted the additional costs due to COVID-19 including the employee bonuses, as well as $20 million for steps taken to help protect employees and customers, and for increased benefit programs.