Consolidated net sales increased 4.6% to $7.08 billion from $6.77 billion in the prior year’s fourth quarter.
Enterprise same-store sales increased 2.5%. Same-store sales for Dollar Tree increased 3.1%. Family Dollar same-store sales increased 1.7%.
Gross profit was $2.14 billion for the quarter. Gross margin was 30.2%, compared to 31.8% in the prior year’s quarter.
The 160 basis point decrease was driven by higher freight costs and recall-related markdowns, partially offset by improved initial mark-on and favorable product mix, reduced shrink and leverage on distribution costs.
Selling, general and administrative expenses were 22.1% of total revenue, compared to 21.7% of total revenue in the prior year's fourth quarter. The increase was primarily due to higher store payroll, card transaction fees, legal fees, and costs associated with the $1.25 price point conversions at all U.S. Dollar Tree stores.
Operating income for the quarter was $578.8 million compared with $681.6 million in the same period last year and operating income margin was 8.2% compared to 10.1% in the prior year’s quarter.
Net income was $454.2 million in the fourth quarter and diluted earnings per share for the quarter was $2.01, compared to $2.13 in the prior year’s quarter. The Company incurred three untypical items in its fourth quarter that netted to no effect on quarterly earnings per share.
A deferred tax benefit of $61.6 million (or $0.27 per share) was offset by debt extinguishment costs of $46.5 million (or $0.16 per share) related to its refinancing, as well as inventory markdowns and related costs of $34.1 million (or $0.11 per share) in connection with the Company’s recent product recall in its Arkansas distribution center and the 404 Family Dollar stores it serves.
During the quarter, the Company opened 174 new stores, expanded or relocated 24 stores, and closed 65 stores. Additionally, the Company completed 23 Family Dollar store renovations. Retail selling square footage at year-end was approximately 128.9 million square feet.
Full year fiscal 2021 results
Consolidated net sales increased 3.1% to $26.31 billion from $25.51 billion in the prior year. Enterprise same-store sales increased 1.0% on a constant currency basis (or 1.1% when adjusted to include the impact of Canadian currency fluctuations), when compared to the prior year. Same-store sales for Dollar Tree increased 2.1% (or 2.2% when adjusted to include the impact of Canadian currency fluctuations).
Family Dollar same-store sales decreased 0.1%, representing an increase of 10.4% on a two-year stack basis.
Gross profit was $7.73 billion compared to $7.79 billion in the prior year. Gross margin was 29.4%, compared to 30.5% in the prior year.
Selling, general and administrative expenses were 22.5% of total revenue, compared to 23.1% of total revenue in fiscal 2020. The prior year included $242.8 million, or 1.0% of net sales, in COVID-19-related costs.
Operating income for the year was $1.81 billion, compared with $1.89 billion in the prior year and operating income margin was 6.9%, compared to 7.4% for fiscal 2020.
Net income was $1.33 billion and diluted earnings per share improved 2.7% to $5.80, compared to $5.65 in the prior year.
The Company repurchased 9,156,898 shares for $950 million.
The Company estimates consolidated net sales for the first quarter of 2022 will range from $6.63 billion to $6.78 billion, based on a low single-digit increase in same-store sales for the enterprise. Diluted earnings per share for the quarter are estimated to be in the range of $1.95 to $2.10.
Consolidated net sales for full-year fiscal 2022 are expected to range from $27.22 billion to $27.85 billion. This estimate is based on a low-to-mid single-digit increase in same-store sales and approximately 2.8% selling square footage growth. Diluted earnings per share are expected to range from $7.60 to $8.00. While share repurchases are not included in the outlook, the Company currently has $2.5 billion remaining under its board repurchase authorization.
For fiscal 2022, the Company plans to open 590 new stores and to renovate 800 Family Dollar stores. The new stores are expected to consist of 190 Dollar Tree stores and 400 Family Dollar stores. Approximately 350 of the new Family Dollar stores will be in the Combo Store format. Additionally, the Company plans to expand the $3 and $5 Plus assortment to more than 1,500 Dollar Tree stores. ■