SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
☒Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the fiscal year ended January 28, 2022, or
☐Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the transition period from ________ to ________
Commission file number: 001-11421
DOLLAR GENERAL CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
100 MISSION RIDGE
GOODLETTSVILLE, TN 37072
(Address of principal executive offices, zip code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (615) 855-4000
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $0.875 per share
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer ☒
Accelerated filer ☐
Non-accelerated filer ☐
Smaller reporting company ☐
Emerging growth company ☐
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock outstanding and held by non-affiliates as of July 30, 2021 was $54.2 billion calculated using the closing market price of the registrant’s common stock as reported on the NYSE on such date ($232.64). For this purpose, directors, executive officers and greater than 10% record shareholders are considered the affiliates of the registrant.
The registrant had 228,868,368 shares of common stock outstanding as of March 11, 2022.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Certain of the information required in Part III of this Form 10-K is incorporated by reference to the registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be filed for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on May 25, 2022.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
This report contains references to years 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019, which represent fiscal years ending or ended February 3, 2023, January 28, 2022, January 29, 2021 and January 31, 2020, respectively. Our fiscal year ends on the Friday closest to January 31. Our 2022 fiscal year will consist of 53 weeks, while each of the remaining years listed consists of 52 weeks. All of the discussion and analysis in this report should be read with, and is qualified in its entirety by, the Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes.
Solely for convenience, our trademarks and tradenames may appear in this report without the ® or TM symbol which is not intended to indicate that we will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights or the right to these trademarks and tradenames.
Cautionary Disclosure Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
We include “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws throughout this report, particularly under the headings “Business,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and “Note 7 – Commitments and Contingencies,” among others. You can identify these statements because they are not limited to historical fact or they use words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “can,” “would,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “expect,” “estimate,” “goal,” “seek,” “ensure,” “potential,” “opportunity,” “intend,” “predict,” “committed,” “likely,” “continue,” “strive,” “aim,” “scheduled,” “focused on,” or “subject to” and similar expressions that concern our strategies, plans, initiatives, intentions or beliefs about future occurrences or results. For example, all statements relating to, among others, our estimated and projected expenditures, cash flows, results of operations, financial condition and liquidity; our expectations regarding economic and competitive market conditions; our plans and objectives for, and expectations regarding, future operations, growth and initiatives, including but not limited to the number of planned store openings, remodels and relocations, store formats or concepts, progress of our strategic (including our non-consumables and digital initiatives, DG Fresh, Fast Track, and pOpshelf), merchandising, margin enhancing, and distribution/transportation efficiency (including self-distribution) initiatives, and international expansion plans; trends in sales of consumable and non-consumable products, customer traffic and basket size; level of future costs and expenses; expectations regarding inflationary and labor pressures, fuel prices, and other supply chain challenges; potential future stock repurchases and cash dividends; anticipated borrowing under our unsecured revolving credit agreement and our commercial paper program; potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated governmental responses; potential impact of legal or regulatory changes or governmental assistance or stimulus programs and our responses thereto, including the potential increase of federal, state and/or local minimum wage rates/salary levels, as well as changes to SNAP benefits, unemployment benefits, and child tax credits, or potential changes to the corporate tax rate; or expected outcome or effect of pending or threatened legal disputes, litigation or audits are forward-looking statements.
All forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those which we expected. Many of these statements are derived from our operating budgets and forecasts, which are based on many detailed assumptions that we believe are reasonable. However, it is very difficult to predict the effect of known factors, and we cannot anticipate all factors that could affect future results.
Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in our forward-looking statements are disclosed under “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A and elsewhere in this document (including, without limitation, in conjunction with the forward-looking statements themselves and under the heading “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates”). All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by these and other cautionary statements that we make from time to time in our other SEC filings and public communications. You should evaluate forward-looking statements in the context of these risks and uncertainties and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such statements. These factors may not contain all of the factors that are important to you. We cannot assure you that we will realize the results or developments we expect or anticipate or, even if substantially realized, that they will result in the consequences or affect us or our operations in the way we expect. Forward-looking statements in this report are made only as of the date hereof. We undertake no obligation, and specifically disclaim any duty, to update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
We are among the largest discount retailers in the United States by number of stores, with 18,190 stores located in 47 states as of February 25, 2022, with the greatest concentration of stores in the southern, southwestern, midwestern and eastern United States. We offer a broad selection of merchandise, including consumable items, seasonal items, home products and apparel. Our merchandise includes national brands from leading manufacturers, as well as our own private brand selections with prices at substantial discounts to national brands. We offer our customers these national brand and private brand products at everyday low prices (typically $10 or less) in our convenient small-box locations.
J.L. Turner founded our Company in 1939 as J.L. Turner and Son, Wholesale. We were incorporated as a Kentucky corporation under the name J.L. Turner & Son, Inc. in 1955, when we opened our first Dollar General store. We changed our name to Dollar General Corporation in 1968 and reincorporated in 1998 as a Tennessee corporation. Our common stock was publicly traded from 1968 until July 2007, when we merged with an entity controlled by investment funds affiliated with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., or KKR. In November 2009 our common stock again became publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “DG”, and in December 2013 the entity controlled by investment funds affiliated with KKR sold its remaining shares of our common stock.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic resulted in widespread and continuing impacts on the global economy and affected our business, as well as our customers, suppliers, and other business partners. In March 2020, we began seeing heightened demand from customers, particularly for consumable products such as paper, food and cleaning products. Shortly thereafter, we also saw a significant increase in demand for many non-consumable products, resulting in a significant overall sales mix shift into non-consumable categories in 2020. Overall, the mix of consumables to non-consumables sales in 2021 remained relatively consistent with 2020. Since 2020, we also have seen a shift in consumer shopping behavior towards trip consolidation, along with an increase in average transaction amounts. In 2020, we incurred significant expense related to the pandemic, including appreciation bonuses for retail, distribution and transportation employees and health and safety measures. Although some of these expenses continued in 2021, they were not as significant as in 2020. We expect to continue to be affected, although the extent and duration are unknown, by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the economy (including governmental response thereto), including its impact on the global supply chain and increased product, distribution, transportation and other costs.
Our Business Model
Our long history of profitable growth is founded on a commitment to a relatively simple business model: providing a broad base of customers with their basic everyday and household needs, supplemented with a variety of general merchandise items, at everyday low prices in conveniently located, small-box stores. We continually evaluate the needs and demands of our customers and modify our merchandise selections and pricing accordingly, while remaining focused on increasing profitability, cash generation and returns for our shareholders.
Our long-term operating priorities are: 1) driving profitable sales growth, 2) capturing growth opportunities, 3) enhancing our position as a low-cost operator, and 4) investing in our diverse teams through development, empowerment and inclusion. For more information on these operating priorities, see the “Executive Overview” section of Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, included in Part II, Item 7 of this report.
From 1990 through 2020, we achieved 31 consecutive years of positive same-store sales growth. As a result of the unusually high sales results we experienced in 2020, we did not achieve positive same-store sales growth in 2021. Notwithstanding the unusual circumstances of 2020 and 2021, we believe that this consistent growth over many years, which has taken place in a variety of economic conditions, is a result of our compelling value and convenience proposition, although no assurances can be given that we will achieve positive same-store sales growth in any given year.
Compelling Value and Convenience Proposition. Our ability to deliver highly competitive prices in convenient locations and our easy “in and out” shopping format create a compelling shopping experience that we believe distinguishes us from other discount retailers as well as convenience, drug, grocery, online and mass merchant retailers. Our slogan “Save time. Save money. Every day!”® summarizes our appeal to customers. We believe our ability to effectively deliver both value and convenience allows us to succeed in small markets with limited shopping alternatives, as well as in larger and more competitive markets. Our value and convenience proposition is evidenced by the following attributes of our business model:
|●||Everyday Low Prices on Quality Merchandise. Our research indicates that we offer a price advantage over most food and drug retailers and that our prices are competitive with even the largest discount retailers. Our ability to offer everyday low prices on quality merchandise is supported by our low-cost operating structure and our strategy to maintain a limited number of items per merchandise category, which we believe helps us maintain strong purchasing power. We offer nationally advertised brands at these everyday low prices in addition to offering our own private brands at substantially lower prices.|
|●||Convenient Locations. Our stores are conveniently located in a variety of rural, suburban and urban communities. We seek to locate our stores in close proximity to our customers, which helps drive customer loyalty and trip frequency and makes us an attractive alternative to large discount and other large-box retail and grocery stores.|
|●||Time-Saving Shopping Experience. We strive to provide customers with a highly convenient, easy to navigate shopping experience. Our small-box stores make it easier to get in and out quickly, and our digital tools and offerings help drive even greater convenience and additional access points. Our product offering includes most necessities, such as basic packaged and refrigerated or frozen food and dairy products, cleaning supplies, paper products, health and beauty care items, greeting cards and other stationery items, basic apparel, housewares, hardware and automotive supplies, among others. Our convenient hours and broad merchandise offering allow our customers to fulfill their requirements for basic goods and minimize their need to shop elsewhere.|
Substantial Growth Opportunities. We believe we have substantial long-term growth potential in the U.S., and we have identified significant opportunities to add new stores in both existing and new markets, which include our new pOpshelf concept. In addition, we have opportunities to relocate or remodel locations within our existing store base to better serve our customers. Our attractive store economics, including a relatively low initial investment and simple, low-cost operating model, and our variety of store formats have allowed us to grow our store base to current levels and provide us significant opportunities to continue our profitable store growth strategy.
We offer a focused assortment of everyday necessities, which we believe helps to drive frequent customer visits, and key items in a broad range of general merchandise categories. Our product assortment provides the opportunity for our customers to address most of their basic shopping needs with one trip. We offer a wide selection of nationally advertised brands from leading manufacturers. Additionally, our private brand products offer even greater value with options to purchase both products that are of comparable quality to national brands as well as opening price point items, each at substantial discounts to the national brands.
Consumables is our largest merchandise category and includes paper and cleaning products (such as paper towels, bath tissue, paper dinnerware, trash and storage bags, disinfectants, and laundry); packaged food (such as
cereals, pasta, canned soups, fruits and vegetables, condiments, spices, sugar and flour); perishables (such as milk, eggs, bread, refrigerated and frozen food, beer and wine); snacks (such as candy, cookies, crackers, salty snacks and carbonated beverages); health and beauty (such as over-the-counter medicines and personal care products including soap, body wash, shampoo, cosmetics, dental hygiene and foot care products); pet (such as pet supplies and pet food); and tobacco products.
Seasonal products include holiday items, toys, batteries, small electronics, greeting cards, stationery, prepaid phones and accessories, gardening supplies, hardware, automotive and home office supplies.
Home products include kitchen supplies, cookware, small appliances, light bulbs, storage containers, frames, candles, craft supplies and kitchen, bed and bath soft goods.
Apparel includes casual everyday apparel for infants, toddlers, girls, boys, women and men, as well as socks, underwear, disposable diapers, shoes and accessories.
The percentage of net sales of each of our four categories of merchandise for the fiscal years indicated below was as follows:
Our seasonal and home products categories typically account for the highest gross profit margins, and the consumables category typically accounts for the lowest gross profit margin.
The Dollar General Store
The typical Dollar General store is operated by a store manager, one or more assistant store managers, and three or more sales associates. Our stores generally feature a low-cost, no frills building with limited maintenance capital, low operating costs, and a focused merchandise offering within a broad range of categories, allowing us to deliver low retail prices while generating strong cash flows and capital investment returns. Our stores currently average approximately 7,400 square feet of selling space, and approximately 75% of our stores are located in towns of 20,000 or fewer people. Beginning in 2021, our primary new store format averages approximately 8,500 square feet of selling space. We generally have had good success in locating suitable store sites in the past, and we believe that there is ample opportunity for new store growth in existing and new markets. In addition, we believe we have significant opportunities available for our relocation and remodel programs.
Our store growth over the past three years is summarized in the following table:
End of Year
Our customers seek value and convenience. Depending on their financial situation and geographic proximity, customers’ reliance on Dollar General varies from fill-in shopping, to making periodic trips to stock up on household items, to making weekly or more frequent trips to meet most essential needs. We generally locate our stores and plan our merchandise selections to best serve the needs of our core customers, the low and fixed income households often underserved by other retailers (including grocers), and we are focused on helping them make the most of their spending dollars. At the same time, however, Dollar General shoppers from a wide range of income
brackets and life stages appreciate our quality merchandise as well as our attractive value and convenience proposition.
We purchase merchandise from a wide variety of suppliers and maintain direct buying relationships with many producers of national brand merchandise. Despite our broad offering, we maintain only a limited number of items per category, allowing us to keep our average costs low. Our two largest suppliers accounted for approximately 9% and 8%, respectively, of our purchases in 2021. Our private brands come from a wide variety of suppliers. We directly imported approximately 6% of our purchases at cost in 2021.
In 2020 and 2021, COVID-19 and its impacts caused disruptions in our supply chain, at times making it more difficult to obtain certain products in sufficient quantities to meet customer demand and increasing distribution and transportation costs. We anticipate these COVID-19 effects to persist to some degree, although the ultimate extent and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects are unknown. Prior to 2020, we had generally been able to obtain sufficient quantities of core merchandise and in cases where one or more of our current sources of supply became unavailable, we generally had been able to obtain alternative sources. In situations where it becomes necessary to secure alternative sources, we may experience increased merchandise costs and supply chain lead time and expenses, a temporary reduction in store inventory levels, and reduced product selection or quality. An inability to obtain alternative sources could adversely affect our sales.
Distribution and Transportation
Our stores are currently supported by distribution centers for both refrigerated and non-refrigerated merchandise located strategically throughout our geographic footprint. We lease additional temporary warehouse space as necessary to support our distribution needs. In addition to our traditional distribution centers, we now operate multiple temperature-controlled distribution facilities in support of “DG Fresh”, our strategic, multi-phased shift to self-distribution of frozen and refrigerated goods, such as dairy, deli and frozen products. We regularly analyze and rebalance the network to ensure that it remains efficient and provides the service levels our stores require. See “—Properties” below for additional information pertaining to our distribution centers.
Most of our merchandise flows through our distribution centers and is delivered to our stores by our private fleet and by third-party trucking firms, utilizing our trailers. In addition, vendors or third-party distributors deliver or ship certain food items and other merchandise directly to our stores.
The nature of our business is somewhat seasonal. Generally, our operating profit has been greater in the fourth quarter, which includes the Christmas selling season, as compared with operating profit in each of the first three quarters of our fiscal year. In addition, our quarterly results can be affected by the timing of certain holidays, new store openings, remodels, relocations and store closings. Consumer behavior driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying impacts has resulted in a departure from seasonal norms we have experienced in recent years and may continue to disrupt the historical quarterly cadence of our results of operations for an unknown period of time.
We operate in the basic discount consumer goods market, which is highly competitive with respect to price, customers, store location, merchandise quality, assortment and presentation, service offerings, in-stock consistency, customer service, promotional activity, employees, and market share. We compete with discount stores and many other retailers, including mass merchandise, warehouse club, grocery, drug, convenience, variety, online, and certain specialty stores. These other retail companies operate stores in many of the areas where we operate, and many of them engage in extensive advertising and marketing efforts. Our direct competitors include Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Big Lots, 99 Cents Only and various local, independent operators, as well as Walmart, Target, Kroger, Aldi, Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid, among others. Certain of our competitors have greater financial, distribution,
marketing and other resources than we do and may be able to secure better arrangements from suppliers than we can. Competition is intense and we believe it will continue to be so, with certain competitors reducing their store locations while others move into or increase their presence in our geographic and product markets and increase the availability of mobile, web-based and other digital technology to facilitate a more convenient and competitive online and in-store customer shopping experience.
We believe that we differentiate ourselves from other forms of retailing by offering consistently low prices in a convenient, small-store format. We are able to maintain competitive prices due in part to our low-cost operating structure and the relatively limited assortment of products offered. Purchasing large volumes of merchandise within our focused assortment in each merchandise category allows us to keep our average product costs low, contributing to our ability to offer competitive everyday low prices to our customers. See “—Our Business Model” above for further discussion of our competitive situation.
Our Intellectual Property
We own marks that are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and are protected under applicable intellectual property laws, including, without limitation, Dollar General®, DG®, Clover Valley®, trueliving®, and pOpshelf® along with variations and formatives of these trademarks. We attempt to obtain registration of our trademarks whenever practicable and to pursue vigorously any infringement of those marks. Our trademark registrations have various expiration dates; however, assuming that the trademark registrations are properly renewed, they have a perpetual duration. We also hold an exclusive license to the Rexall brand through at least March 5, 2029 and the Believe Beauty brand through at least March 18, 2025.
Human Capital Resources
At Dollar General, a foundational element in how we operate is exemplified in our fourth operating priority – Investing in our diverse teams through development, empowerment and inclusion. Building on our core value of respecting the dignity and differences of others, our goal is to create a work environment where each employee is encouraged and empowered to bring their unique perspective and voice to work each day. Based on a talent philosophy of “Attract, Develop, and Retain”, whether an individual works in a store, a distribution center, our store support center or our international offices, over the last 80+ years, we have helped millions of individuals start and progress in their careers, providing employees with numerous opportunities to gain new skills and develop their talents, supported by our award-winning training and development programs.
We seek to provide market competitive compensation and benefits packages that attract talent to the organization and then retain and incent employees for performance. Although eligibility for and the level of benefits vary depending on the employee’s full-time or part-time status, compensation level, date of hire, and/or length of service, the broad range of benefits we provide or make available may include: medical, prescription, telemedicine, dental and vision plans; flexible spending accounts; disability insurance; 401(k) plan; paid vacation; employee assistance program with access to legal assistance and counseling; healthy lifestyle and disease management programs; education assistance benefits; parental leave; adoption assistance; service award recognition; and a broad range of discounts for other products and services. To help measure the success of our overall employee compensation and benefits programs, we monitor employee applicant flow and staffing levels across the organization, as well as employee turnover, particularly at the store manager level.
As a testament to our employee development efforts, in February 2021 we were inducted into Training magazine’s Hall of Fame, following two consecutive years as the magazine’s top training and development program and rounding out 10 consecutive years among its Top 100 list. In 2021, we estimate we invested over three million training hours in our employees to promote their education and development.
Our internal promotion rate helps us measure the success of our development programs. As of February 25, 2022, we employed approximately 163,000 full-time and part-time employees, including divisional and regional managers, district managers, store managers, other store personnel, and distribution center, fleet and administrative personnel. As of the end of 2021, approximately 76% of store managers and thousands of additional employees, including several members of our senior leadership, have been promoted from within our organization.
To ensure we are creating an environment where our employees feel respected, safe, empowered, and motivated, we regularly monitor retention and engagement levels across the organization through a variety of means, working to understand what is important to our employees and how we can best continue to meet their evolving needs.
Compliance with Governmental Regulations
Our operations are subject to the applicable federal, state, local and foreign laws, rules, and regulations of the jurisdictions in which we operate or conduct business. These laws, rules and regulations relate to, among other things, the sale of products, including without limitation product and food safety, marketing and labeling; information security and privacy; labor and employment; employee wages and benefits; health and safety; real property; public accommodations; anti-bribery; financial reporting and disclosure; antitrust and fair competition; anti money laundering; transportation; imports and customs; intellectual property; taxes; and environmental compliance.
Although we routinely incur significant costs in complying with the laws and regulations applicable to the Company, and we can make no guarantees that future such costs will not be material, to date, compliance with these laws, rules and regulations has not had a material adverse effect on our capital expenditures, earnings or competitive position. Many of our entry-level store employees are paid at rates in line with the applicable state minimum wage, and consequently, in certain situations, increases to such wage rates have increased our labor costs. If federal, state and/or local minimum wage rates/salary levels were to increase significantly and/or rapidly, compliance with such increases could adversely affect our earnings. Additionally, if significant changes in the federal, state or foreign corporate tax rates occur in the future, such change could adversely affect our overall effective tax rate and earnings. See “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A for additional information regarding government regulations that could impact our business.
Our Internet website address is www.dollargeneral.com. The information on our website is not incorporated by reference into, and is not a part of, this Form 10-K. We file with or furnish to the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports, proxy statements and annual reports to shareholders, and, from time to time, registration statements and other documents. These documents are available free of charge to investors on or through the Investor Information section of our website (https://investor.dollargeneral.com) as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file them with or furnish them to the SEC. The SEC also maintains an internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers, such as Dollar General, that file electronically with the SEC. The address of that website is http://www.sec.gov.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
Investment in our Company involves risks. You should carefully consider the risks described below and the other information in this report and other filings that we make from time to time with the SEC, including our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. Any of the following risks could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or liquidity. These risks are not the only risks we face. Our business, financial condition, results of operations or liquidity could also be adversely affected by additional factors that apply to all companies generally or by risks not currently known to us or that we currently view to be immaterial. We can provide no assurance and make no representation that our risk mitigation efforts, although we believe they are reasonable, will be successful.
Business, Strategic and Competitive Risks
The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact our business, financial performance and financial condition and could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial performance and financial condition in the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in widespread and continuing adverse impacts on, and volatility in, the global economy and has continued to impact our business, employees, customers, suppliers, and other business partners. Considerable uncertainty exists regarding the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic’s existing and new variants will continue, as well as the scope, duration and effectiveness of continued measures directed at containment and mitigation of the virus, including travel bans and restrictions, quarantines, school closures, vaccination rollouts (including any boosters), vaccine and/or testing initiatives and mandates, restrictions on large gatherings and social distancing directives, and business and government restrictions and shutdowns. These measures taken by national, state and local government authorities to date have had serious adverse impacts on domestic and foreign economies and could have a significant adverse impact on our core customer and her spending for an unknown length of time. The timing, scope and potential effect of any additional economic stabilization efforts, including additional government stimulus payments, food/nutrition assistance and enhanced unemployment benefits, is uncertain. If customer spending on the goods we sell declines as a result of some or all of these factors, there could be a material adverse impact on our business and results of operations.
We have been classified as an essential business in all locations where we operate, and as such, our stores generally have remained open to serve our customers. While none of the below has resulted in an overall material adverse impact on our business, financial performance or financial condition to date, we have experienced or are experiencing certain effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including but not limited to, the following:
|●||Supply chain disruptions and capacity constraints, including shipping and procurement delays of certain goods from international and domestic shipping origins, delivery delays to our stores as a result of staffing challenges (including COVID-19-related absenteeism) in certain of our distribution centers and vendor restrictions on their sale to us of a significant percentage of certain of our core products;|
|●||Reduced or no availability of certain products in our stores as a result of supply chain disruptions outlined above and extremely high customer demand for certain products which has outpaced available supply;|
|●||Increased distribution and transportation costs as a result of the effects outlined above, increased carrier rates and greater driver shortages, increased importing expense, increased overtime pay expenses due to reduced labor availability, and demand for transportation services outpacing carrier supply;|
|●||Delayed store openings as a result of delays in store equipment, inventory deliveries or availability, and entitlement processes;|
|●||Temporary store and distribution center closings in order to allow for deep cleanings as needed;|
|●||Increased incremental expenses for certain items, including supplies for enhanced cleaning protocols and personal protective equipment for employees in stores, distribution centers and corporate headquarters (e.g., gloves, masks, hand sanitizer);|
|●||In addition to the additional distribution overtime discussed above, increased labor expenses as a result of awarding employee appreciation bonuses, significantly increasing our hiring of new store|
|employees, and the increased workload associated with the incremental sales volume or inconsistent deliveries from our distribution centers to our stores; and|
|●||COVID-19 and remote-work oriented phishing and similar cybersecurity attack attempts.|
Depending on the duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, including whether there are additional “waves”, other additional periods of increases or spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases or variants thereof and the availability, acceptance and efficacy of medical treatments, vaccines (including both adult and pediatric booster vaccines), effect of vaccine and/or testing mandates and related regulations, which are uncertain and cannot be predicted, as well as governmental authorities’ responses and requirements related to the pandemic, including the pace and extent of the easing or removal of restrictions on businesses and customers or the reinstitution of more stringent regulations, these experienced effects could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial performance and financial condition in the future if they increase in number, duration, and/or magnitude. We also could experience other effects that could aggravate or increase the likelihood of the risk factors set forth herein and/or result in a material adverse impact on our business, financial performance or financial condition, including but not limited to, the financial difficulties experienced by our suppliers or business partners, including the financial failure of one or more of our international steamship line vendors resulting in our inability to obtain our purchased goods in their possession; increased operating costs as a result of increased government regulations and mandates requiring us to provide wage increases or premiums to frontline employees, personal protective equipment or personal hygiene supplies to customers or to increase store and distribution center cleaning protocols, as well as store and/or distribution center closures as a result of increased government enforcement of any such new regulations and mandates; increased litigation expenses resulting from employee or customer lawsuits, including those related to the Company’s COVID-19 response and alleged employee or customer contraction; increased insurance costs, medical claims costs and workers’ compensation claim costs and the impact of regulatory and judicial changes in liability for workers’ compensation; and damage to our reputation if our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is perceived as inadequate or inappropriate. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic’s new and existing variants may cause or accelerate a shift in our core customer’s behaviors, expectations and shopping trends, which could result in lost sales and market share if we are not able to successfully increase the pace of our strategic initiatives development, particularly our digital strategic initiatives, and if our current digital shopping offerings do not continue to compete effectively.
The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately impacts our business, financial performance and financial condition will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including, but not limited to, the duration and spread of the outbreak (and any variants thereof), its severity, the actions to contain and mitigate the virus or treat its impact, and how quickly and to what extent normal economic and operating conditions can resume. As a result, we may not be able to identify all risks ultimately faced from the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
Economic factors may reduce our customers’ spending, impair our ability to execute our strategies and initiatives, and increase our costs and expenses, which could result in materially decreased sales and/or profitability.
Many of our customers have fixed or low incomes and limited discretionary spending dollars. Any factor that could adversely affect their disposable income could decrease our customers’ spending or cause them to shift their spending to our lower margin product choices, which could result in materially decreased sales and/or profitability. Factors that could reduce our customers’ disposable income include but are not limited to high unemployment or underemployment levels or decline in real wages; inflation; pandemics (such as the COVID-19 pandemic); higher fuel, energy, healthcare and housing costs, interest rates, consumer debt levels, and tax rates; tax law changes that negatively affect credits and refunds; lack of available credit; and decreases in, or elimination of, government stimulus programs or subsidies such as unemployment, food/nutrition assistance programs, and the Child Tax Credit.
Many of the economic factors listed above, as well as commodity rates; transportation, lease and insurance costs; wage rates (including the heightened possibility of increased federal, state and/or local minimum wage rates); foreign exchange rate fluctuations; measures that create barriers to or increase the costs of international trade (including increased import duties or tariffs); changes in applicable laws and regulations (including tax laws related
to the corporate tax rate); and other economic factors, also could impair our ability to successfully execute our strategies and initiatives, as well as increase our cost of goods sold and selling, general and administrative expenses (including real estate costs), and may have other adverse consequences that we are unable to fully anticipate or control, all of which may materially decrease our sales or profitability.
Our plans depend significantly on strategies and initiatives designed to increase sales and profitability and improve the efficiencies, costs and effectiveness of our operations, and failure to achieve or sustain these plans could materially affect our results of operations.
We have short-term and long-term strategies and initiatives (such as those relating to merchandising, real estate and new store development, international expansion, store formats and concepts, digital, marketing, health services, shrink, sourcing, private brand, inventory management, supply chain, store operations, expense reduction, and technology) in various stages of testing, evaluation, and implementation, which are designed to continue to improve our results of operations and financial condition. The effectiveness of these initiatives is inherently uncertain, even when tested successfully, and is dependent on consistency of training and execution, workforce stability, ease of execution and scalability, and the absence of offsetting factors that can influence results adversely. The number and diverse geographic locations of our stores and distribution centers and our decentralized field management also contribute to the challenging nature of these factors. Other risk factors described herein also could negatively affect general implementation. Failure to achieve successful or cost-effective implementation of our initiatives could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The success of our merchandising initiatives, particularly our non-consumable initiatives (including our new pOpshelf concept) and efforts to increase sales of higher margin products within the consumables category, further depends in part upon our ability to predict the products that our customers will demand and to identify and timely respond to evolving trends in consumer preferences and demographic mixes in our markets. If we are unable to select and timely obtain products that are attractive to customers and at costs that allow us to sell them at an acceptable profit, or to effectively market such products, it could result in materially decreased sales and profitability.
The success of our cold chain self-distribution initiative, DG Fresh, further depends in part on the availability of certain supply chain resources, including temperature-controlled distribution centers, refrigerated transportation equipment, and drivers. The success of our Fast Track initiative, which is designed to enhance our in-store labor productivity, on-shelf availability and customer convenience, further depends in part on successful acquisition, implementation and maintenance of the necessary hardware and technology, continued customer interest and adoption of self-checkout, our ability to gain cost efficiencies and control shrink levels from the initiative, and vendor cooperation. The success of DG Media Network, which is our platform for connecting brand partners with our customers to drive even greater value for each, further depends on our ability to successfully gather target customer audiences that deliver consistent, predictable and beneficial returns on advertising spending so as to generate interest and demand from our brand partners, as well as to properly handle and secure all sensitive customer data.
We face intense competition that could limit our growth opportunities and materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
The retail business is highly competitive with respect to price, customers, store location, merchandise quality, product assortment and presentation, service offerings, product sourcing and supply chain capacity, in-stock consistency, customer service, ease of shopping experience, promotional activity, employees, and market share. We compete with discount stores and many other retailers, including mass merchandise, warehouse club, grocery, drug, convenience, variety, online retailers, and certain specialty stores. To maintain our competitive position, we may be required to lower prices, either temporarily or permanently, and may have limited ability to increase prices in response to increased costs, resulting in lower margins and reduced profitability. Certain of our competitors have greater financial, distribution, marketing and other resources, and may be able to secure better arrangements with suppliers, than we.
Competition is intense, and is expected to continue to be so, with certain competitors reducing their store locations while others enter or increase their presence in our geographic and product markets (including through the expansion of availability of delivery services) and expand availability of mobile, web-based and other digital technologies to facilitate a more convenient and competitive online and in-store shopping experience. If our competitors or others were to enter our industry in a significant way, including through alliances or other business combinations, it could significantly alter the competitive dynamics of the retail marketplace and result in competitors with greatly improved competitive positions, which could materially affect our financial performance. Our ability to effectively compete will depend substantially upon our continued ability to develop and execute compelling and cost-effective strategies and initiatives. If we fail to anticipate or respond effectively to competitive pressures and industry changes, it could materially affect our results of operations and financial condition.
If we cannot timely and cost-effectively execute our real estate projects and meet our financial expectations, or if we do not anticipate or successfully address the challenges imposed by our expansion, including into new countries or domestic markets, states, or urban or suburban areas, it could materially impede our planned future growth and our profitability.
Delays in or failure to complete a significant portion of our real estate projects, or failure to meet our financial expectations for these projects, could materially and adversely affect our growth and our profitability. Our ability to timely open, relocate and remodel profitable stores and expand into additional market areas is a key component of our planned future growth and may depend in part on: the availability of suitable store locations and capital funding; the absence of entitlement process or occupancy delays, including zoning restrictions and moratoria on small box discount retail development such as those passed by certain local governments in areas where we operate or seek to operate; supply chain volatility resulting in delivery delays, and in some cases, lack of availability of store equipment, building materials, and store merchandise for resale; the ability to negotiate acceptable lease and development terms (for example, real estate development requirements and cost of building materials and labor), to cost-effectively hire and train qualified new personnel, especially store managers, and to identify and accurately assess sufficient customer demand; and general economic conditions. While we have experienced certain of these factors at heightened levels in fiscal 2021, to date, they have not materially impaired our ability to complete our planned real estate projects or growth, and thus, have not had a material adverse effect on our financial performance. However, if the heightened levels which we have recently experienced increase or are sustained for an extended period of time, we expect that they could have a material adverse effect on our ability to complete our future planned real estate projects or growth, and in turn, a material adverse effect on our financial performance.
We also may not anticipate or successfully address all of the challenges imposed by the expansion of our operations (including our new pOpshelf store concept), including into new countries or domestic markets, states or urban or suburban areas where we have limited or no meaningful experience or brand recognition. Those areas may have different regulatory environments, competitive and market conditions, consumer tastes and discretionary spending patterns than our existing markets, as well as higher cost of entry and operating costs. These factors may cause our new stores to be less profitable than stores in our existing markets, which could slow future growth in these areas. In addition, many new stores will be located in areas where we have existing stores, which inadvertently may temporarily or permanently divert a larger than anticipated number of customers and sales from our existing stores, thereby adversely affecting our overall financial performance.
Inventory shrinkage may negatively affect our results of operations and financial condition.
We experience significant inventory shrinkage. Although some level of inventory shrinkage is an unavoidable cost of doing business, higher rates of inventory shrinkage or increased security or other costs to combat inventory theft could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in our efforts to contain or reduce inventory shrinkage.
Our cash flows from operations, profitability and financial condition may be negatively affected if we are not successful in managing our inventory balances.
Our inventory balance represented approximately 52% of our total assets exclusive of goodwill, operating lease assets, and other intangible assets as of January 28, 2022. Efficient inventory management is a key component of our business success and profitability. We must maintain sufficient inventory levels and an appropriate product mix to meet our customers’ demands without allowing those levels to increase such that the costs to store and hold the goods unduly impacts our financial results or increases the risk of inventory shrinkage. If we do not accurately predict customer trends, spending levels, or price sensitivity, we may have to take unanticipated markdowns to dispose of the excess inventory, which also can adversely affect our financial results. We continue to focus on ways to reduce these risks, but we cannot make assurances that we will be successful in our inventory management. If we are not successful in managing our inventory balances, our cash flows from operations and financial condition may be negatively affected.
Failure to maintain the security of our business, customer, employee or vendor information or to comply with privacy laws could expose us to litigation, government enforcement actions and costly response measures, and could materially harm our reputation and affect our business and financial performance.
In connection with sales, we transmit confidential credit and debit card information which is encrypted using point-to-point encryption. We also have access to, collect or maintain certain private or confidential information regarding our customers, employees and their dependents, and vendors, as well as our business. Some of this information is stored electronically in connection with our e-commerce and mobile applications, some of which may leverage third-party service providers. Additionally, we may share information with and depend upon select vendors to assist us in conducting our business. While we have implemented procedures and technology intended to protect such information and require appropriate controls of our vendors, external attackers could compromise such controls and result in unauthorized disclosure of such information, as attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, may include attacks on our third-party business partners, and do not always or immediately produce detectable indicators of compromise. Moreover, inadvertent or malicious internal personnel actions could result in a defeat of security measures and a compromise of our or our third-party vendors’ information systems. Furthermore, if a vendor is the victim of a cyberattack, including a ransomware attack, such attack could have a corresponding material effect on our ability to do business with that vendor or to receive information that may be required to timely prepare our financial statements. Due to the political uncertainty involving Russia and Ukraine, there is an increased likelihood that escalation of tensions could result in cyberattacks that could either directly or indirectly impact our operations. Like other retailers, we and our vendors have experienced threats to, and incidents involving, data and systems, including by perpetrators of attempted random or targeted malicious attacks; computer malware, ransomware, bots, or other destructive or disruptive software; and attempts to misappropriate our information and cause system failures and disruptions although to date none have been material to our business. If attackers obtain customer, employee or vendor passwords through unrelated third-party breaches, and if impacted customers, employees, or vendors do not employ good online security practices (e.g., use the same password across different sites or do not use multifactor authentication), these passwords could be used to gain access to their information or accounts with us in certain situations.
Because we accept debit and credit cards for payment, we are subject to industry data protection standards and protocols, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, issued by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. Nonetheless, we may be vulnerable to, and unable to detect and appropriately respond to, cardholder data security breaches and data loss, including successful attacks on applications, systems, or networks.
A significant security breach of any kind experienced by us or one of our vendors, which could be undetected for a period of time, or a significant failure by us or one of our vendors to comply with applicable privacy and information security laws, regulations and standards could expose us to risks of data loss, litigation, government enforcement actions, fines or penalties, credit card brand assessments, negative publicity and reputational harm, business disruption and costly response measures (e.g., providing notification to, and credit monitoring services for, affected individuals, as well as further upgrades to our security measures; procuring a replacement vendor if one of our current vendors is unable to fulfill its obligations to us due to a cyberattack or
incident) which may not be covered by or may exceed the coverage limits of our insurance policies, and could materially disrupt our operations. Any resulting negative publicity could significantly harm our reputation which could cause us to lose market share as a result of customers discontinuing the use of our e-commerce and mobile applications or debit or credit cards in our stores or not shopping in our stores altogether and could materially and adversely affect our business and financial performance.
Material damage or interruptions to our information systems as a result of external factors, staffing shortages or challenges in maintaining or updating our existing technology or developing or implementing new technology could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We depend on a variety of information technology systems, including systems owned and managed by third-party vendors, for the efficient functioning of our business, including, without limitation, transaction processing and the management of our employees, facilities, logistics, inventories, stores and customer-facing digital applications and operations. Our technology initiatives may not deliver desired results or may do so on a delayed schedule. Additionally, such systems are subject to damage or interruption from power surges and outages, facility damage, physical theft, computer and telecommunications failures, inadequate or ineffective redundancy, malicious code (including malware, ransomware, or similar), successful attacks (e.g., account compromise; phishing; denial of service; and application, network or system vulnerability exploitation), software upgrade failures or code defects, natural disasters and human error. Due to the political uncertainty involving Russia and Ukraine, there is an increased likelihood that escalation of tensions could result in cyberattacks that could either directly or indirectly impact our operations. Design defects, damage to, or interruption to these systems may require a significant investment to repair or replace, disrupt our operations and affect our ability to meet business and reporting requirements, result in the loss or corruption of critical data, and harm our reputation, all of which could materially and adversely affect our business or results of operations.
We also rely heavily on our information technology staff. Failure to meet these staffing needs may negatively affect our ability to fulfill our technology initiatives while continuing to provide maintenance on existing systems. We rely on third parties to maintain and periodically upgrade many of these systems so that they can continue to support our business. We license the software programs supporting many of our systems from independent software developers. The inability of these vendors, developers or us to continue to maintain and upgrade these systems and software programs could disrupt or reduce the efficiency of our operations or retain vulnerability exploitation risk if we were unable to convert to alternate systems in an efficient and timely manner and could expose us to greater risk of a successful attack. In addition, costs and delays associated with the implementation of new or upgraded systems and technology, including the migration of applications to the cloud or our current implementation of our new point of sale system, or with maintenance or adequate support of existing systems also could disrupt or reduce the efficiency of our operations, fail to operate as designed, result in the potential loss or corruption of data or information, disrupt operations and affect our ability to meet business and reporting requirements and adversely affect our profitability.
A significant disruption to our distribution network, the capacity of our distribution centers or the timely receipt of inventory could adversely affect sales or increase our transportation costs, which would decrease our profitability.
We rely on our distribution and transportation network to provide goods to our stores timely and cost-effectively. Using various transportation modes, including ocean, rail, and truck, we and our vendors move goods from vendor locations to our distribution centers and our stores. Any disruption, unanticipated or unusual expense or operational failure related to this process could negatively impact sales and profits. We experienced in fiscal 2021, and continue to experience, increased fuel costs, as well as inventory receipt and delivery delays and increases in transportation costs (including increased import freight costs, and carrier and driver wages as a result of driver shortages) as a result of a decrease in transportation capacity for overseas shipments, port closures or congestion, and labor shortages. Labor shortages or work stoppages or slowdowns in the transportation industry or disruptions to the national and international transportation infrastructure that necessitate our securing alternative labor or shipping suppliers could also increase our costs or otherwise negatively affect our business. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the global and domestic transportation and distribution of goods and resulted in product delivery delays and higher delivery prices. The supply chain disruptions that we have experienced to date as a result
of the COVID-19 pandemic had a material negative impact on our financial results in fiscal 2021. Depending on the continued extent and duration of these disruptions, our distribution network, results of operations (including sales) or future business may continue to be materially and adversely impacted.
We maintain a network of distribution facilities and are moving forward with plans to build or lease new facilities to support our growth objectives and strategic initiatives. Delays in opening such facilities could adversely affect our financial performance by slowing store growth (including accelerated pOpshelf store growth plans) or the rollout of certain strategic initiatives such as our DG Fresh initiative, which may in turn reduce revenue growth and/or profitability, or by increasing transportation and product costs. In addition, distribution-related construction or expansion projects entail risks that could cause delays and cost overruns, such as: shortages of materials or skilled labor; work stoppages; unforeseen construction, scheduling, engineering, environmental or geological problems; weather interference; fires or other casualty losses; and unanticipated cost increases. For these reasons, the completion date and ultimate cost of these projects could differ significantly from initial expectations, and we cannot guarantee that any project will be completed on time or within established budgets.
Risks associated with or faced by our suppliers could adversely affect our financial performance.
We source our merchandise from a wide variety of domestic and international suppliers, and we depend on them to supply merchandise in a timely and efficient manner and in the large volumes that we may require. In 2021, our two largest suppliers accounted for approximately 9% and 8% respectively, of our purchases. If one or more of our current sources of supply became unavailable, we believe we generally would be able to obtain alternative sources, but it could increase our merchandise costs and supply chain lead time and expenses, result in a temporary reduction in store inventory levels, and reduce the selection and quality of our merchandise. An inability to obtain alternative sources could materially decrease our sales. Additionally, if a supplier fails to deliver on its commitments, we could experience merchandise out-of-stocks that could lead to lost sales and reputational harm. Further, failure of suppliers to meet our compliance protocols could prolong our procurement lead time, resulting in lost sales and adverse margin impact.
We directly imported approximately 6% of our purchases (measured at cost) in 2021, but many of our domestic vendors directly import their products or components of their products. Changes to the prices and flow of these goods often are for reasons beyond our control, such as political or civil unrest, acts of war, disruptive global political events (for example, the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine), currency fluctuations, disruptions in maritime lanes, port labor disputes, economic conditions and instability in countries in which foreign suppliers are located, the financial instability of suppliers, failure to meet our terms and conditions or our standards, issues with our suppliers’ labor practices or labor problems they may experience (such as strikes, stoppages or slowdowns, which could also increase labor costs during and following the disruption), the availability and cost of raw materials, pandemic outbreaks, merchandise quality or safety issues, transport availability and cost, increases in wage rates and taxes, transport security, inflation, and other factors relating to suppliers and the countries in which they are located or from which they import. Such changes could adversely affect our operations and profitability.
While we are working to diversify our sources of imported goods, a substantial amount of our imported merchandise comes from China, and thus, a change in the Chinese leadership, the effects of pandemic outbreaks including COVID-19, economic and market conditions, internal economic stimulus actions, or currency or other policies, as well as trade relations between China and the United States and increases in costs of labor, could negatively impact our merchandise costs. We experienced delays in the receipt of certain goods from international and domestic shipping origins as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and more general global supply chain constraints in fiscal 2021. Depending on the continued extent and duration of these constraints and disruptions, our supply chain, results of operations (including sales) or future business may be materially and adversely impacted. In addition, the United States’ foreign trade policies, duties, tariffs and other impositions on imported goods, trade sanctions imposed on certain countries (particularly China) and entities, import limitations on certain types of goods or of goods containing certain materials from other countries and other factors relating to foreign trade and port labor agreements are beyond our control. These and other factors affecting our suppliers and our access to products could adversely affect our business and financial performance. If we increase our product imports from foreign vendors, the risks associated with these imports also will increase, and we may be exposed to additional or different risks as we increase imports of goods produced in countries other than China.
Natural disasters and unusual weather conditions (whether or not caused by climate change), pandemic outbreaks or other health crises, political or civil unrest, acts of war, violence or terrorism, and disruptive global political events could disrupt business and result in lower sales and/or profitability and otherwise adversely affect our financial performance.
The occurrence of one or more natural disasters, such as hurricanes, fires, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes, unusual weather conditions, pandemic outbreaks or other health crises (including but not limited to the COVID-19 pandemic), political or civil unrest, acts of war, violence or terrorism (including within our stores, distribution centers or other Company property), or disruptive global political events (for example, the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine) or similar disruptions could adversely affect our reputation, business and financial performance. If any of these events result in the closure, or a limitation on operating hours, of one or more of our distribution centers, a significant number of stores, our sourcing offices, our corporate headquarters or data center or impact one or more of our key suppliers, our operations and financial performance could be materially and adversely affected through an inability or reduced ability to make deliveries, process payroll or provide other support functions to our stores and through lost sales. These events also could affect consumer shopping patterns or prevent customers from reaching our stores, which could lead to lost sales and higher markdowns, or result in increases in fuel or other energy prices, fuel shortage(s), new store or distribution center opening delays, the temporary lack of an adequate work force in a market, the temporary or long-term disruption of product availability in our stores, the temporary or long-term inability to obtain or access technology needed to effectively run our business, disruption of our utility services or information systems, and damage to our reputation. These events may also increase the costs of insurance if they result in significant loss of property or other insurable damage by us or in the market more generally.
Furthermore, the long-term impacts of global climate change present the possibility of both physical risks (such as extreme weather conditions or rising sea levels) and transition risks (such as regulatory or technology changes), which may be widespread and unpredictable. Over time, these changes could affect, for example, the availability and cost of products, commodities and energy (including utilities), which in turn may impact our ability to procure goods and services required for the operation of our businesses at the quantities and levels we require. In addition, our operations and facilities may be located in areas impacted by the physical risks of climate change, and we face the risk of losses incurred as a result of physical damage to stores, distribution centers, or our corporate offices, as well as loss or spoilage of inventory and business interruption caused by such events. We also use natural gas, diesel fuel and gasoline and electricity in our operations, all of which could face increased regulation as a result of climate change or other environmental concerns. Regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions and energy inputs may also increase in coming years, which may increase our costs associated with compliance and merchandise. These events and their impacts could otherwise disrupt and adversely affect our operations and could materially adversely affect our financial performance.
Product liability, product recall or other product safety or labeling claims could adversely affect our business, reputation and financial performance.
We depend on our vendors to ensure that the products we buy from them comply with applicable product safety and labeling laws and regulations and to inform us of all applicable restrictions on the sale of such products. Nonetheless, product liability, personal injury or other claims may be asserted against us relating to alleged product contamination, tampering, expiration, mislabeling, recall and other safety or labeling issues, including those relating to products that we may self-distribute through our DG Fresh initiative.
We seek but may not be successful in obtaining contractual indemnification and insurance coverage for product-related claims and issues from our vendors. If we do not have adequate contractual indemnification or insurance available, or our vendors fails to adhere to their obligations to us, such claims could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our ability to obtain indemnification from foreign vendors may be hindered by our ability to obtain jurisdiction over them to enforce contractual obligations. Even with adequate insurance and indemnification, such claims could significantly harm our reputation and consumer confidence in our products and we could incur significant litigation expenses, which also could materially affect our results of operations even if a product liability claim is unsuccessful or not fully pursued.
Our current insurance program may expose us to unexpected costs and negatively affect our financial performance.
Our insurance coverage reflects deductibles, self-insured retentions, limits of liability and similar provisions that we believe are prudent based on our operations. However, there are types of losses we may incur but against which we cannot be insured or which we believe are not economically reasonable to insure, such as losses due to acts of war, certain crimes (including employee crime), certain wage and hour and other employment-related claims and litigation, actions based on certain consumer protection laws, and some natural and other disasters or similar events. If we incur material uninsured losses, our financial performance could suffer. Certain material events have resulted, and may result again in the future, in sizable losses for the insurance industry and adversely affect the availability of adequate insurance coverage or result in excessive premium increases. To offset negative insurance market trends, we may elect to self-insure, accept higher deductibles or reduce the amount of coverage. In addition, we self-insure a significant portion of expected losses under our workers’ compensation, automobile liability, general liability (including claims made against certain of our landlords), property loss, and group health insurance programs. Significant changes in actuarial assumptions and management estimates underlying our recorded liabilities for these losses, including any expected increases in medical and indemnity costs, could result in materially different expenses than expected under these programs, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. Although we maintain property insurance for catastrophic events at our store support center and distribution centers, we are effectively self-insured for other property losses. If we experience a greater number of these losses than we anticipate, our financial performance could be adversely affected.
Failure to attract, develop and retain qualified employees while controlling labor costs, as well as other labor issues, could adversely affect our financial performance.
Our future growth and performance, positive customer experience and legal and regulatory compliance depends on our ability to attract, develop, retain and motivate qualified employees while operating in an industry challenged by historically high rates of employee turnover. Our ability to meet our labor needs, while controlling our labor costs, is subject to many external factors, including competition for and availability of qualified personnel, unemployment levels, wage rates and salary levels (including the heightened possibility of increased federal, state and/or local minimum wage rates/salary levels), health and other insurance costs, changes in employment and labor laws or other workplace regulations (including those relating to employee benefit programs such as health insurance and paid leave programs), employee activism, and our reputation and relevance within the labor market. If we are unable to attract, develop and retain adequate numbers of qualified employees, our operations, customer service levels, legal and regulatory compliance, and support functions could suffer. In addition, to the extent a significant portion of our employee base unionizes, or attempts to unionize, our labor and other related costs could increase, and it is possible that federal agencies may adopt or impose regulatory or other changes to existing law that could facilitate union organizing. Our ability to pass along labor and other related costs to our customers is constrained by our everyday low price model, and we may not be able to offset such increased costs elsewhere in our business.
Our success depends on our executive officers and other key personnel. If we lose key personnel or are unable to hire additional qualified personnel, our business may be harmed.
Our future success depends to a significant degree on the skills, experience and efforts of our executive officers and other key personnel. The unexpected loss of the services of any of such persons could adversely affect our operations. There can be no assurance that our executive succession planning, retention or hiring efforts will be successful. Competition for skilled and experienced management personnel is intense, and a failure to attract and retain new qualified personnel could adversely affect our operations.
Our private brands may not be successful in improving our gross profit rate and may increase certain of the risks we face.
The sale of private brand items is an important component of our sales growth and gross profit rate enhancement plans. Broad market acceptance of our private brands depends on many factors, including pricing, quality, customer perception, and timely development and introduction of new products. We cannot give assurance
that we will achieve or maintain our expected level of private brand sales. The sale and expansion of these offerings also subjects us to or increases certain risks, such as: product liability claims and product recalls; disruptions in raw material and finished product supply and distribution chains; inability to successfully protect our proprietary rights; claims related to the proprietary rights of third parties; supplier labor and human rights issues, and other risks generally encountered by entities that source, sell and market exclusive branded offerings for retail. Failure to appropriately address these risks could materially and adversely affect our private brand initiatives, reputation, results of operations and financial condition.
Because our business is somewhat seasonal, adverse events during the fourth quarter could materially affect our financial statements as a whole.
Primarily because of sales of Christmas-related merchandise, our most profitable sales mix generally occurs in the fourth quarter. In anticipation of this holiday, we purchase substantial amounts of seasonal inventory, and if sales fall below seasonal norms or our expectations it could result in unanticipated markdowns. Adverse events, such as deteriorating economic conditions, high unemployment rates, high gas prices, transportation disruptions, or unusual or unanticipated adverse weather could result in lower-than-planned sales during the Christmas selling season, which in turn could reduce our profitability and otherwise adversely affect our financial performance and operating results.
Failure to protect our reputation could adversely affect our business.
Our success depends in part on the protection of the reputation of Dollar General and the products and services we sell, including our private brands. Failure to comply or accusation of failure to comply with ethical, social, product, labor, data privacy, consumer protection, safety, environmental and other applicable standards could jeopardize our reputation and potentially lead to various adverse consumer, shareholder or non-governmental organization (NGO) actions, litigation and governmental investigations. In addition, our position or perceived lack of position on certain issues (e.g., public policy, social, or environmental issues), and any perceived lack of transparency about such matters, could harm our reputation and potentially lead to adverse consumer, shareholder or NGO actions, including negative public statements. Similar incidents or factors involving vendors and other third parties with whom we conduct business also may affect our reputation. Public comments on social media, whether or not they are accurate, have the potential to quickly influence negative perceptions of Dollar General or our goods and services, including our private brands. Negative reputational incidents could adversely affect our business through lost sales, loss of new store and development opportunities, or employee retention and recruiting difficulties.
Regulatory, Legal, Compliance and Accounting Risks
A significant change in governmental regulations and requirements could materially increase our cost of doing business, and noncompliance with governmental regulations could materially and adversely affect our financial performance.
We routinely incur significant costs in complying with numerous and frequently changing laws and regulations. The complexity of this regulatory environment and related compliance costs continue to increase due to additional legal and regulatory requirements, our expanding operations, and increased regulatory scrutiny and enforcement efforts. New or revised laws, regulations, policies and related interpretations and enforcement practices, particularly those dealing with the sale of products, including without limitation, product and food safety, marketing or labeling; information security and privacy; labor and employment; employee wages and benefits; health and safety; imports and customs; taxes; bribery; climate change; and environmental compliance, may significantly increase our expenses or require extensive system and operating changes that could materially increase our cost of doing business. Violations of applicable laws and regulations or untimely or incomplete execution of a required product recall can result in significant penalties (including loss of licenses, eligibility to accept certain government benefits such as SNAP or significant fines), class action or other litigation, governmental investigation or action and reputational damage. Additionally, changes in tax laws (including those related to the federal, state or foreign corporate tax rate), the interpretation of existing laws, or our failure to sustain our reporting positions on examination could adversely affect our overall effective tax rate. Furthermore, significant and/or rapid increases to
federal, state and/or local minimum wage rates/salary levels could adversely affect our earnings if we are not able to otherwise offset these increased labor costs elsewhere in our business. Moreover, the adoption of new environmental laws and regulations in connection with climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy, including any federal or state laws enacted to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, could significantly increase our operating or merchandise costs or reduce the demand for our products. These laws and regulations may include, but are not limited to, requirements relating to hazardous waste materials, recycling, single-use plastics, extended producer responsibility, use of refrigerants, carbon pricing or carbon taxes, product energy efficiency standards and product labeling. If carbon pricing or carbon taxes are adopted, there is a significant risk that the cost of merchandise from our suppliers will increase and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Legal proceedings may adversely affect our reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our business is subject to the risk of litigation or other legal proceedings by employees, consumers, suppliers, competitors, shareholders, government agencies and others through private actions, class actions, multi-district litigation, arbitrations, derivative actions, administrative proceedings, regulatory actions or other litigation. For example, we are involved in certain legal proceedings as discussed in Note 7 to the consolidated financial statements. The outcome of legal proceedings, particularly class action or multi-district litigation or mass arbitrations and regulatory actions, can be difficult to assess or quantify. Plaintiffs in these types of lawsuits may seek recovery of very large or indeterminate amounts, and the magnitude of the potential loss may remain unknown for lengthy periods. In addition, certain of these matters, if decided adversely to us or settled by us, may result in liability material to our financial statements as a whole or may negatively affect our operating results if changes to our business operations are required, and sometimes these developments are unanticipated. Legal proceedings in general, and class actions, multi-district litigation, governmental investigations and actions and derivative actions in particular, can be expensive and disruptive, and adverse publicity could harm our reputation, regardless of the validity of the allegations. As a result, legal proceedings may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. See also Note 7 to the consolidated financial statements.
New accounting guidance or changes in the interpretation or application of existing accounting guidance could adversely affect our financial performance.
The implementation of new accounting standards could require certain systems, internal process and controls and other changes that could increase our operating costs and result in changes to our financial statements.
U.S. generally accepted accounting principles and related accounting pronouncements, implementation guidelines and interpretations with regard to a wide range of matters that are relevant to our business involve many subjective assumptions, estimates and judgments by our management. Changes in these rules or their interpretation or in underlying management assumptions, estimates or judgments could significantly change our reported or expected financial performance. The outcome of such changes could include litigation or regulatory actions which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Financial and Capital Market Risks
Deterioration in market conditions or changes in our credit profile could adversely affect our business operations and financial condition.
We rely on the positive cash flow we generate from our operating activities and our access to the credit and capital markets to fund our operations, growth strategy, and return of cash to our shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. Changes in the credit and capital markets, including market disruptions, limited liquidity and interest rate fluctuations, may increase the cost of financing or restrict our access to these potential sources of future liquidity. Our continued access to liquidity sources on favorable terms depends on multiple factors, including our operating performance and credit ratings. Our debt securities currently are rated investment grade, and a downgrade of this rating likely would negatively impact our access to the debt capital markets and increase our cost of borrowing. As a result, disruptions in the debt markets or any downgrade of our credit ratings could adversely affect our business operations and financial condition and our ability to return cash to our shareholders. We can
make no assurances that our ability to obtain additional financing through the debt markets will not be adversely affected by economic conditions or that we will be able to maintain or improve our current credit ratings.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
As of February 25, 2022, we operated 18,190 retail stores located in 47 states as follows:
Number of Stores
Number of Stores
Most of our stores are located in leased premises. Individual store leases vary as to their terms, rental provisions and expiration dates. Many stores, including a significant portion of our new stores, are subject to build-to-suit arrangements with landlords, which typically carry a primary lease term of up to 15 years with multiple renewal options. We also have stores subject to shorter-term leases, and many of these leases have renewal options.
As of February 25, 2022, we operated 16 distribution centers for non-refrigerated products, 10 cold storage distribution centers, and two combination distribution centers which have both refrigerated and non-refrigerated products. We lease 12 of these facilities and the remainder are owned. We have a total of 17.5 million square feet of non-refrigerated space and a total of 2.6 million square feet of cold storage space. Approximately 7.25 acres of the land for one of the distribution centers is subject to a ground lease. We also leased approximately 2.0 million square feet of additional warehouse space in support of our distribution network for non-refrigerated merchandise.
Our executive offices are located in approximately 302,000 square feet of owned buildings and approximately 42,000 square feet of leased office space in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
The information contained in Note 7 to the consolidated financial statements under the heading “Legal proceedings” contained in Part II, Item 8 of this report is incorporated herein by this reference.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
Information regarding our current executive officers as of March 18, 2022 is set forth below. Each of our executive officers serves at the discretion of our Board of Directors and is elected annually by the Board to serve until a successor is duly elected. There are no familial relationships between any of our directors or executive officers.
Todd J. Vasos
Chief Executive Officer and Director
John W. Garratt
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Jeffery C. Owen
Chief Operating Officer
Kathleen A. Reardon
Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer
Steven G. Sunderland
Executive Vice President, Store Operations
Emily C. Taylor
Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer
Rhonda M. Taylor
Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Carman R. Wenkoff
Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Executive Vice President, Global Supply Chain
Anita C. Elliott
Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer
Mr. Vasos has served as Chief Executive Officer and a member of our Board since June 2015. He joined Dollar General in December 2008 as Executive Vice President, Division President and Chief Merchandising Officer and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in November 2013. Prior to joining Dollar General, Mr. Vasos served in executive positions with Longs Drug Stores Corporation for seven years, including Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (February 2008 to November 2008) and Senior Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer (2001 to 2008), where he was responsible for all pharmacy and front-end marketing, merchandising, procurement, supply chain, advertising, store development, store layout and space allocation, and the operation of three distribution centers. He also previously served in leadership positions at Phar-Mor Food and Drug Inc. and Eckerd Corporation. Mr. Vasos has served as a director of KeyCorp since July 2020.
Mr. Garratt has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since December 2015. He joined Dollar General in October 2014 as Senior Vice President, Finance & Strategy and subsequently served as Interim Chief Financial Officer from July 2015 to December 2015. Mr. Garratt previously held various positions of increasing responsibility in corporate strategy and financial planning with Yum! Brands, Inc., one of the world’s largest restaurant companies, between May 2004 and October 2014, including Vice President, Finance and Division Controller for the KFC division and earlier for the Pizza Hut division and for Yum Restaurants International (October 2013 to October 2014); Senior Director, Yum Corporate Strategy (March 2010 to October 2013), reporting directly to the corporate Chief Financial Officer and leading corporate strategy as well as driving key cross-divisional initiatives; and various other financial positions. He previously held financial management positions at Alcoa Inc. (April 2002 to May 2004) and General Electric (March 1999 to April 2002), after beginning his career with Alcoa in May 1990. Mr. Garratt has served as a director of Humana Inc. since February 2020.
Mr. Owen has served as Chief Operating Officer since August 2019. He returned to Dollar General in June 2015 as Executive Vice President of Store Operations, with over 21 years of previous employment experience with the Company. Prior to his departure from Dollar General in July 2014, he was Senior Vice President, Store Operations. Prior to August 2011, Mr. Owen served as Vice President, Division Manager, and from November 2006 to March 2007 he served as Retail Division Manager. Prior to November 2006, he was Senior Director,
Operations Process Improvement. Mr. Owen also served the Company in various operations roles of increasing importance and responsibility from December 1992 to September 2004. Mr. Owen has served as a director of Kirkland’s Inc. since March 2015.
Ms. Reardon has served as Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer since August 2020. She joined Dollar General as Director, Human Resources in September 2009 and was promoted to Vice President, Talent Management in October 2012. She became Vice President, Retail Human Resources in October 2014 and was promoted to Senior Vice President, Human Resources in March 2019 and to Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer in May 2019. Prior to joining Dollar General, Ms. Reardon held several positions of increasing responsibility at Centex from August 2005 until September 2009, serving as Director of Human Resources from October 2007 until September 2009. Since beginning her career in May 1998, Ms. Reardon also held various roles with Carrier Corporation, including Manager of Human Resources from August 2003 until August 2005, and was also a Career Consultant at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia, from August 2001 until August 2003.
Mr. Sunderland has served as Executive Vice President, Store Operations, since August 2019. He joined Dollar General as Senior Vice President, Store Operations, in September 2014. Mr. Sunderland previously served as Senior Vice President, Retail Operations, of Office Depot, Inc. (November 2013 to January 2014); Senior Vice President, Retail Operations, of OfficeMax Incorporated (May 2012 to November 2013); Chief Operating Officer of Bally Total Fitness Holding Corporation (2011 to April 2012); and World Kitchen, LLC’s President of Retail (2009 to 2011). Mr. Sunderland began his career with Sears in 1987, holding various positions of increasing responsibility, including Vice President of Strategic Operations for Sears Holdings Corporation from 2007 until 2009.
Ms. E. Taylor has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer since September 2020. She joined Dollar General in 1998 and held roles of increasing responsibility in investor relations, financial planning and analysis, merchandise planning, pricing and merchandising operations prior to her promotion to Vice President, Pricing & Merchandise Data Optimization in March 2011. She served as Vice President, Merchandising Operations (March 2012 to April 2014) and was subsequently promoted to Senior Vice President, General Merchandise Manager in April 2014. She most recently served as Senior Vice President, Channel Innovation (September 2019 to September 2020).
Ms. R. Taylor has served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel since March 2015. She joined Dollar General as an Employment Attorney in March 2000 and was subsequently promoted to Senior Employment Attorney in 2001, Deputy General Counsel in 2004, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel in March 2010, and Senior Vice President and General Counsel in June 2013. Prior to joining Dollar General, she practiced law with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., where her practice was focused on labor law and employment litigation. She has also held attorney positions with Ford & Harrison LLP.
Mr. Wenkoff has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer since July 2017. He previously served as the Chief Information Officer (May 2012 to June 2017) and Chief Digital Officer (June 2016 to June 2017) of Franchise World Headquarters, LLC (“Subway”), a restaurant chain, where he was responsible for global technology and digital strategy, execution and operations for the Subway brand and all of its restaurants. He owned a Subway franchise from July 2015 until October 2017. He also previously served as Chairman of the Board and Co-President of Retail Gift Card Association (February 2008 to May 2012); Deputy Chief Information Officer for Independent Purchase Cooperative, Inc. (May 2005 to May 2012) and President of its subsidiary, Value Pay Services LLC (May 2005 to February 2011); founder and President of Stored Value Management, Inc. (January 2004 to May 2005); and Vice President, Operations and Finance, and General Counsel of Ontain Corporation (January 2000 to December 2004). Mr. Wenkoff began his career in 1993 as an articled student, and then attorney with Douglas Symes & Brissenden and served in various legal positions, including General Counsel, with Pivotal Corporation from 1997 to 2000.
Mr. Zuazo has served as Executive Vice President, Global Supply Chain since April 16, 2021. He joined Dollar General as Senior Director, Inventory and Planning Systems in May 2010, became Vice President, Inventory and Demand Management in February 2013, and was promoted to Senior Vice President, Inventory and Transportation in August 2018. Prior to joining Dollar General, Mr. Zuazo served as Director of Pricing Strategy
for Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream from January 2009 to May 2010 and Director of Procurement for Longs Drug Stores Corporation from January 2006 to December 2008, and prior thereto, held various roles of increasing responsibility with Safeway Inc., primarily in its corporate business processes department, from August 1998 to December 2005. Mr. Zuazo began his career in January 1988 with Lucky Stores and served as a pricing analyst for its Northern California division from October 1995 to August 1998.
Ms. Elliott has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer since December 2015. She joined Dollar General as Senior Vice President and Controller in August 2005. Prior to joining Dollar General, she served as Vice President and Controller of Big Lots, Inc. from May 2001 to August 2005, where she was responsible for accounting operations, financial reporting and internal audit. Prior to serving at Big Lots, she served as Vice President and Controller for Jitney-Jungle Stores of America, Inc. from April 1998 to March 2001, where she was responsible for the accounting operations and the internal and external financial reporting functions. Prior to serving at Jitney-Jungle, she practiced public accounting for 12 years, 6 of which were with Ernst & Young LLP.
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “DG.” On March 11, 2022, there were approximately 2,784 shareholders of record of our common stock.
We have paid quarterly cash dividends since 2015. Our Board of Directors most recently increased the amount of the quarterly cash dividend from $0.42 to $0.55 beginning with the dividend payable on April 19, 2022. While our Board of Directors currently expects to continue regular quarterly cash dividends, the declaration and amount of future cash dividends are subject to the Board’s sole discretion and will depend upon, among other things, our results of operations, cash requirements, financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors that the Board may deem relevant in its sole discretion.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
The following table contains information regarding purchases of our common stock made during the quarter ended January 28, 2022 by or on behalf of Dollar General or any “affiliated purchaser,” as defined by Rule 10b-18(a)(3) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934:
of Shares that May
as Part of Publicly
Yet Be Purchased
Under the Plans
|(a)||On September 5, 2012, the Company announced a program permitting the Company to repurchase a portion of its outstanding shares not to exceed a dollar maximum established by the Company’s Board of Directors. The program was most recently amended on December 1, 2021 to increase the repurchase authorization by $2.0 billion, bringing the cumulative total value of authorized share repurchases under the program since its inception to $14.0 billion. Under the authorization, repurchases may be made from time to time in open market transactions, including pursuant to trading plans adopted in accordance with Rule 10b5-1 of the Exchange Act, or in privately negotiated transactions. The timing, manner and number of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors, including price, market conditions, compliance with the covenants and restrictions under the Company’s debt agreements and other factors. This repurchase authorization has no expiration date.|
ITEM 6. RESERVED
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
This discussion and analysis should be read with, and is qualified in its entirety by, the Consolidated Financial Statements and the notes thereto. It also should be read in conjunction with the Cautionary Disclosure Regarding Forward-Looking Statements and the Risk Factors disclosures set forth in the Introduction and in Item 1A of this report, respectively.
Impact of COVID-19
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to have a widespread impact on the global economy as well as our business, customers, suppliers, and other business partners. As an essential business in all locations where we operate, our stores have generally remained open to serve our customers. In responding to the pandemic and its effects, the health and safety of our employees and customers remains a priority.
We expect to continue to be affected, although the extent and duration is unknown, by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the economy in a variety of ways, including changes in consumer demand (whether higher or lower) in certain product categories (or overall), supply chain interruptions or disruptions, increased distribution and transportation costs, increased product costs and increased payroll expenses. We also may experience adverse effects on our business, results of operations and cash flows from a recessionary economic environment that may occur after the COVID-19 pandemic and government response thereto and their effects on the economy has moderated. As a result, the quarterly cadence of our results of operations, which has varied from historical patterns during the pandemic, may continue to do so in fiscal 2022.
Due to the significant uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects, there may be consequences that we do not anticipate at this time or that develop in unexpected ways. We will continue to monitor the evolving situation and take actions as necessary to serve our employees, customers, communities and shareholders.
We are the largest discount retailer in the United States by number of stores, with 18,190 stores located in 47 states as of February 25, 2022, with the greatest concentration of stores in the southern, southwestern, midwestern and eastern United States. We offer a broad selection of merchandise, including consumable products such as food, paper and cleaning products, health and beauty products and pet supplies, and non-consumable products such as seasonal merchandise, home decor and domestics, and basic apparel. Our merchandise includes national brands from leading manufacturers, as well as our own private brand selections with prices at substantial discounts to national brands. We offer our customers these national brand and private brand products at everyday low prices (typically $10 or less) in our convenient small-box locations.
We believe our convenient store formats, locations, and broad selection of high-quality products at compelling values have driven our substantial growth and financial success over the years and through a variety of economic cycles. We are mindful that the majority of our customers are value-conscious, and many have low and/or fixed incomes. As a result, we are intensely focused on helping our customers make the most of their spending dollars. Our core customers are often among the first to be affected by negative or uncertain economic conditions and among the last to feel the effects of improving economic conditions, particularly when trends are inconsistent and of an uncertain duration. The primary macroeconomic factors that affect our core customers include unemployment and underemployment rates, wage growth, changes in U.S. and global trade policy, and changes to certain government assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), unemployment benefits, economic stimulus payments, and the child tax credit. In fiscal 2020 and 2021, our customers were affected both positively and negatively by many of these factors in connection with the pandemic and its associated impacts. We continue to monitor the potential impact of reductions in SNAP benefits and unemployment benefit programs, as well as changes in the payments of the child tax credit, although these programs did not result in a material impact on our business or financial results in fiscal 2021. Additionally, our customers are impacted by increases in those expenses that generally comprise a large portion of their household budgets, such as
rent, healthcare, and fuel prices; as well as cost inflation in frequently purchased household products, such as that which we experienced in 2021 and continue to experience as further discussed below. Finally, significant unseasonable or unusual weather patterns can impact customer shopping behaviors.
We remain committed to our long-term operating priorities as we consistently strive to improve our performance while retaining our customer-centric focus. These priorities include: 1) driving profitable sales growth, 2) capturing growth opportunities, 3) enhancing our position as a low-cost operator, and 4) investing in our diverse teams through development, empowerment and inclusion.
We seek to drive profitable sales growth through initiatives aimed at increasing customer traffic and average transaction amount. As we work to provide everyday low prices and meet our customers’ affordability needs, we remain focused on enhancing our margins through effective category management, inventory shrink reduction initiatives, private brands penetration, distribution and transportation efficiencies, global sourcing, and pricing and markdown optimization. Several of our strategic and other sales-driving initiatives are also designed to capture growth opportunities and are discussed in more detail below.
Historically, our sales in our consumables category, which tend to have lower gross margins, have been the key drivers of net sales and customer traffic, while sales in our non-consumables categories, which tend to have higher gross margins, have contributed to more profitable sales growth and an increase in average transaction amount. Prior to 2020, our sales mix had continued to shift toward consumables, and, within consumables, toward lower margin departments such as perishables. This trend did not occur in fiscal 2020 or the first quarter of fiscal 2021, as we saw a significant increase in demand in many non-consumable products, including home, seasonal and apparel, resulting in an overall significant mix shift into non-consumable categories during those periods. Beginning in the second quarter of fiscal 2021 and continuing thereafter, we began to see some reversion toward the prior mix trends. We continue to expect some sales mix challenges to persist and that the mix trend reversion toward consumables will continue. Several of our initiatives, including certain of those discussed below, are intended to address these mix challenges; however, there can be no assurances that these efforts will be successful.
We have also experienced a shift in customer behavior toward trip consolidation, as customers shopped our stores less frequently in fiscal 2020 and 2021 than in fiscal 2019 but had a larger average transaction amount. We have seen a continuation of these general trends toward trip consolidation and larger transaction amount, and there can be no assurance that our sales growth initiatives will be effective at reversing them. In addition, we believe our sales have been negatively impacted as a result of supply chain disruptions, primarily due to lower merchandise in-stock levels in our stores.
We continue to implement and invest in certain strategic initiatives that we believe will help drive profitable sales growth, both with new and existing customers, and capture long-term growth opportunities. Such opportunities include providing our customers with additional shopping access points and even greater convenience by leveraging and developing digital tools and technology, such as our Dollar General app, which contains a variety of tools to enhance the in-store shopping experience. Additionally, we launched a partnership with a third party delivery service during 2021, which is now available in more than 10,700 stores, and we also continue to grow our DG Media Network, which is our platform for connecting brand partners with our customers to drive even greater value for each.
Further, our non-consumables initiative, which offers a new, differentiated and limited assortment that will change throughout the year, continues to contribute to improved overall sales and gross margin performance in stores where it has been deployed. We significantly expanded the number of stores with either the full or the “lite” version of our non-consumables initiative offering in 2021 and plan to complete the rollout in the vast majority of our Dollar General stores by the end of fiscal 2022.
Additionally, in 2020, we introduced pOpshelf, a unique retail concept that incorporates certain of the lessons learned from the non-consumables initiative in a differentiated format that is focused on categories such as seasonal and home décor, health and beauty, home cleaning supplies, and party and entertainment goods. At the end of fiscal 2021, we operated 55 standalone pOpshelf locations and 25 pOpshelf store-within-a-store concepts within existing Dollar General Market stores. Our goal is to operate approximately 155 pOpshelf locations, as well as
approximately 50 pOpshelf store-within-a-store concepts, by the end of fiscal 2022. We believe this concept represents a significant growth opportunity, and are targeting approximately 1,000 stores by the end of fiscal 2025.
In the second quarter of fiscal 2021, we completed our rollout of the “DG Fresh” initiative, a self-distribution model for frozen and refrigerated products that is designed to reduce product costs, enhance item assortment, improve our in-stock position, and enhance sales. DG Fresh contributed to our strong sales performance in 2021, driven by higher in-stock levels and the introduction of new products in select stores. In addition, DG Fresh benefitted gross profit in 2021 through improved initial markups on inventory purchases, which were partially offset by increased distribution and transportation costs. DG Fresh now wholly or partially serves essentially all stores across the chain, and we expect the overall net benefit to our financial results to continue throughout 2022. Moving forward, we plan to focus on additional optimization of the distribution footprint and product assortment within DG Fresh to further drive profitable sales growth.
To support our other operating priorities, we remain focused on capturing growth opportunities. In 2021, we opened 1,050 new stores, remodeled 1,752 stores, and relocated 100 stores. In 2022, we plan to open approximately 1,110 new stores (including planned pOpshelf stores and up to ten stores in Mexico), remodel approximately 1,750 stores, and relocate approximately 120 stores, for a total of 2,980 real estate projects. We expect stores in Mexico, which will represent our first store locations outside the United States, to open in the second half of 2022.
We continue to innovate within our channel and are able to utilize the most productive of our various Dollar General store formats based on the specific market opportunity. We expect store format innovation to allow us to capture additional growth opportunities within our existing markets. We recently introduced two new larger format stores (approximately 8,500 square feet and 9,500 square feet, respectively), and expect the 8,500 square foot format, along with our existing Dollar General Plus format of a similar size, to become our base prototypes for the majority of new stores, replacing our traditional 7,300 square foot format and higher-cooler count Dollar General Traditional Plus format. The larger formats allow for expanded high-capacity-cooler counts; an extended queue line; and a broader product assortment, including the non-consumable initiative, a larger health and beauty section, and produce in select stores. We continue to incorporate lessons learned from our various store formats and layouts into our existing store base. These lessons contribute to innovation in developing new formats, with a goal of driving increased customer traffic, average transaction amount, same-store sales and overall store productivity.
We have established a position as a low-cost operator, always seeking ways to reduce or control costs that do not affect our customers’ shopping experiences. We plan to continue enhancing this position over time while employing ongoing cost discipline to reduce certain expenses as a percentage of sales. Nonetheless, we seek to maintain flexibility to invest in the business as necessary to enhance our long-term competitiveness and profitability.
We are also deploying “Fast Track”, an initiative aimed at further enhancing our convenience proposition and in-stock position as well as increasing labor efficiencies within our stores. The completed first phase of Fast Track involved sorting process optimization within our non-refrigerated distribution centers, as well as increased shelf-ready packaging, to allow for greater store-level stocking efficiencies, while the ongoing second phase involves adding a self-checkout option, which we plan to have in up to 11,000 stores by the end of fiscal 2022. These and the other strategic initiatives discussed above have required and will require us to incur upfront expenses for which there may not be an immediate return in terms of sales or enhanced profitability.
Certain of our operating expenses, such as wage rates and occupancy costs, have continued to increase in recent years, due primarily to market forces, including labor availability, increases in minimum wage rates and increases in property rents. Further federal, state and/or local minimum wage increases could have a material negative impact on our operating expenses, although the magnitude and timing of such impact is uncertain. We have experienced incremental payroll, distribution and transportation costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated impacts. We continue to experience materially higher supply chain costs and, in some instances, shipping delays, as a result of shipping capacity shortages, port congestion and labor shortages. We expect continued inflationary pressures due to higher input costs and higher fuel prices will continue to affect us as well as our vendors and customers, including higher commodity, transportation and other costs, all of which may result in continued pressure to our operating results, and their duration is unknown. While we expect these challenges to
persist, certain of our initiatives and plans are intended to help offset these challenges; however, they are somewhat dependent on the scale and timing of the increased costs, among other factors. There can be no assurance that our mitigation efforts will be successful.
Our diverse teams are a competitive advantage, and we proactively seek ways to continue investing in their development. Our goal is to create an environment that attracts, develops, and retains talented personnel, particularly at the store manager level, because employees who are promoted from within our company generally have longer tenures and are greater contributors to improvements in our financial performance.
To further enhance shareholder returns, we repurchased shares of our common stock and paid quarterly cash dividends in 2021. We expect to continue our share repurchase activity and to pay quarterly cash dividends for the foreseeable future, subject to Board discretion and approval.
We utilize key performance indicators (“KPIs”) in the management of our business. Our KPIs include same-store sales, average sales per square foot, and inventory turnover. Same-store sales are calculated based upon stores that were open at least 13 full fiscal months and remain open at the end of the reporting period. We include stores that have been remodeled, expanded or relocated in our same-store sales calculation. Changes in same-store sales are calculated based on the comparable 52 calendar weeks in the current and prior years. The method of calculating same-store sales varies across the retail industry. As a result, our calculation of same-store sales is not necessarily comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies. Average sales per square foot is calculated based on total sales for the preceding 12 months as of the ending date of the reporting period divided by the average selling square footage during the period, including the end of the fiscal year, the beginning of the fiscal year, and the end of each of our three interim fiscal quarters. Inventory turnover is calculated based on total cost of goods sold for the preceding four quarters divided by the average inventory balance as of the ending date of the reporting period, including the end of the fiscal year, the beginning of the fiscal year, and the end of each of our three interim fiscal quarters. Each of these measures is commonly used by investors in retail companies to measure the health of the business. We use these measures to maximize profitability and for decisions about the allocation of resources.
A continued focus on our four operating priorities as discussed above, coupled with pandemic-related sales and other impacts (additional discussion below) and strong cash flow management resulted in strong overall operating and financial performance in 2021 as compared to 2020, as set forth below. Basis points, as referred to below, are equal to 0.01% as a percentage of net sales.
|●||Net sales in 2021 increased 1.4% over 2020. Sales in same-stores decreased 2.8%, primarily due to a decrease in customer traffic. Average sales per square foot in 2021 were $262.|
|●||Our gross profit rate decreased by 16 basis points due primarily to higher transportation costs and a greater LIFO provision.|
|●||SG&A as a percentage of sales increased by 96 basis points primarily due to increases in retail labor and store occupancy costs.|
|●||Operating profit decreased 9.4% to $3.22 billion in 2021 compared to $3.55 billion in 2020.|
|●||Interest expense increased by $7.1 million in 2021 primarily due to higher average outstanding debt balances.|
|●||The decrease in the effective income tax rate to 21.7% in 2021 from 22.0% in 2020 was due primarily to increased income tax benefits associated with federal tax credits.|
|●||We reported net income of $2.40 billion, or $10.17 per diluted share, for 2021 compared to net income of $2.66 billion, or $10.62 per diluted share, for 2020.|
|●||We generated approximately $2.87 billion of cash flows from operating activities in 2021, a decrease of 26.1% compared to 2020.|
|●||Inventory turnover was 4.4 times, and inventories increased 1.4% on a per store basis compared to 2020.|
|●||We repurchased approximately 12.1 million shares of our outstanding common stock for $2.5 billion.|
Readers should refer to the detailed discussion of our operating results below for additional comments on financial performance in the current year as compared with the prior years presented.
Results of Operations
Accounting Periods. The following text contains references to years 2021, 2020, and 2019, which represent fiscal years ended January 28, 2022, January 29, 2021, and January 31, 2020, respectively. Our fiscal year ends on the Friday closest to January 31. Fiscal years 2021, 2020 and 2019 were each 52-week accounting periods.
Seasonality. The nature of our business is somewhat seasonal. Primarily because of sales of Christmas-related merchandise, operating profit in our fourth quarter (November, December and January) has historically been higher than operating profit achieved in each of the first three quarters of the fiscal year. Expenses, and to a greater extent operating profit, vary by quarter. Results of a period shorter than a full year may not be indicative of results expected for the entire year. Furthermore, the seasonal nature of our business may affect comparisons between periods. Consumer behavior driven by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a departure from seasonal norms we have experienced in recent years and may continue to disrupt the historical quarterly cadence of our results of operations for an unknown period of time.
The following table contains results of operations data for fiscal years 2021, 2020 and 2019, and the dollar and percentage variances among those years.
2021 vs. 2020
2020 vs. 2019
(amounts in millions, except
per share amounts)
Net sales by category:
% of net sales
% of net sales
% of net sales
% of net sales
Cost of goods sold
% of net sales
% of net sales
Selling, general and administrative expenses
% of net sales
% of net sales
% of net sales
Income before income taxes
% of net sales
Income tax expense
% of net sales
% of net sales
Diluted earnings per share
Net Sales. The net sales increase in 2021 was primarily due to sales from new stores, partially offset by a decrease in same-store sales of 2.8% compared to 2020 as well as the impact of store closures. In 2021, our 16,954 same-stores accounted for sales of $32.4 billion. The decrease in same-store sales reflects a decline in customer traffic partially offset by an increase in average transaction amount which was driven by higher average item retail prices. Same-store sales decreased in each of our product categories, with the largest percentage decrease in the apparel category.
The net sales increase in 2020 reflects a same-store sales increase of 16.3% compared to 2019. In 2020, our 16,050 same-stores accounted for sales of $31.9 billion. The increase in same-store sales reflects an increase in average transaction amount driven by a significant increase in items per transaction and, to a lesser degree, higher average item retail prices, which were offset in part by a decline in customer traffic. Same-store sales increased in each of the consumables, seasonal, home products and apparel categories, with the largest percentage increase in the home products category. The 2020 net sales increase was positively affected by new stores, modestly offset by sales from closed stores.
Gross Profit. In 2021, gross profit increased by 0.9%, and as a percentage of net sales decreased by 16 basis points to 31.6% compared to 2020. Increased transportation costs, a greater LIFO provision which was driven by higher product costs, increased inventory damages and higher distribution costs each contributed to the decrease in the gross profit rate. These factors were partially offset by higher inventory markups, a reduction in markdowns as a percentage of net sales, and a lower inventory shrink rate. In 2021, consumables and non-consumables sales increased at approximately the same rate when compared to 2020.
In 2020, gross profit increased by 26.3%, and as a percentage of net sales increased by 117 basis points to 31.8%, compared to 2019. A reduction in markdowns as a percentage of net sales and higher initial markups on inventory purchases each contributed to the increase in the gross profit rate. In addition, non-consumables sales increased at a higher rate than consumables sales in 2020, which contributed to the increase in the gross profit rate. We also experienced a lower rate of inventory shrink in 2020 compared to 2019. These factors were partially offset by increased distribution and transportation costs which were impacted by increased volume, some of which was attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, and discretionary employee bonus expense. We believe the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer behavior had a significant positive effect on net sales, and also had a positive effect on our gross profit in 2020.
SG&A. SG&A as a percentage of net sales was 22.2% in 2021 compared to 21.2% in 2020, an increase of 96 basis points. The primary expenses that were higher as a percentage of net sales in 2021 were retail labor, store occupancy costs, depreciation and amortization, employee benefits, utilities, and workers’ compensation and general liability expenses, partially offset by reductions in discretionary employee bonus and other miscellaneous COVID-related expenses and incentive compensation expenses.
SG&A as a percentage of net sales was 21.2% in 2020 compared to 22.3% in 2019, a decrease of 106 basis points. Although we incurred certain incremental costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, including discretionary employee bonus expense, they were more than offset by the significant increase in net sales during the period as discussed above. Among the expenses that were a lower percentage of net sales in 2020 were retail labor, store occupancy costs, utilities, and depreciation and amortization. In addition, we recorded expenses of $31.0 million in 2019 reflecting our estimate for the settlement of significant legal matters. These items were partially offset by 2020 increases in incentive compensation and hurricane-related expenses.
Interest Expense. Interest expense increased $7.1 million to $157.5 million in 2021 compared to 2020, and increased $49.8 million to $150.4 million in 2020 compared to 2019 primarily due to higher average outstanding debt balances in connection with the issuance of debt in the first quarter of 2020. The majority of our debt is fixed rate debt. See the detailed discussion under “Liquidity and Capital Resources” regarding the financing of various long-term obligations.
Income Taxes. The effective income tax rate for 2021 was 21.7% compared to a rate of 22.0% for 2020 which represents a net decrease of 0.3 percentage points. The effective income tax rate was lower in 2021 primarily due to increased income tax benefits associated with federal tax credits partially offset by a higher state effective tax rate compared to 2020.
The effective income tax rate for 2020 was 22.0% compared to a rate of 22.2% for 2019 which represents a net decrease of 0.2 percentage points. The effective income tax rate was lower in 2020 primarily due to increased tax benefits associated with share-based compensation and a larger income tax rate benefit from state taxes offset by a lower income tax rate benefit from federal income tax credits due primarily to higher pre-tax earnings in 2020 compared to 2019.
Effects of Inflation
In 2021, 2020 and 2019, we experienced increases in product costs due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the global economy, particularly to the global supply chain, and tariffs on certain items imported from China.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Current Financial Condition and Recent Developments
During the past three years, we have generated an aggregate of approximately $9.0 billion in cash flows from operating activities and incurred approximately $2.9 billion in capital expenditures. During that period, we expanded the number of stores we operate by 2,760, representing growth of approximately 18%, and we remodeled
or relocated 4,756 stores, or approximately 31% of the stores we operated as of the beginning of the three-year period. In 2022, we intend to continue our current strategy of pursuing store growth, remodels and relocations.
At January 28, 2022, we had a $2.0 billion unsecured revolving credit agreement (the “Revolving Facility”), $4.0 billion aggregate principal amount of senior notes, and a commercial paper program that may provide borrowing availability of up to $2.0 billion. At January 28, 2022, we had total consolidated outstanding debt (including the current portion of long-term obligations) of $4.2 billion, most of which was in the form of senior notes. All of our material borrowing arrangements are described in greater detail below. Our borrowing availability under the Revolving Facility may be effectively limited by our commercial paper notes (“CP Notes”) as further described below. The information contained in Note 5 to the consolidated financial statements contained in Part II, Item 8 of this report is incorporated herein by reference.
We believe our cash flow from operations, and our existing cash balances, combined with availability under the Revolving Facility, CP Notes and access to the debt markets, will provide sufficient liquidity to fund our current obligations, projected working capital requirements, capital spending and anticipated dividend payments for a period that includes the next twelve months as well as the next several years. However, our ability to maintain sufficient liquidity may be affected by numerous factors, many of which are outside of our control. Depending on our liquidity levels, conditions in the capital markets and other factors, we may from time to time consider the issuance of debt, equity or other securities, the proceeds of which could provide additional liquidity for our operations.
For fiscal 2022, we anticipate potential combined borrowings under the Revolving Facility and CP Notes to be a maximum of approximately $1.5 billion outstanding at any one time, including any anticipated borrowings to fund repurchases of common stock.
Revolving Credit Facility
Effective December 2, 2021, we amended and extended our Revolving Facility, which consists of a $2.0 billion senior unsecured revolving credit facility of which up to $100.0 million is available for the issuance of letters of credit and which is scheduled to mature on December 2, 2026.
Borrowings under the Revolving Facility bear interest at a rate equal to an applicable interest rate margin plus, at our option, either (a) LIBOR or (b) a base rate (which is usually equal to the prime rate). The Revolving Facility includes customary LIBOR replacement provisions. The applicable interest rate margin for borrowings as of January 28, 2022 was 1.015% for LIBOR borrowings and 0.015% for base-rate borrowings. We must also pay a facility fee, payable on any used and unused commitment amounts of the Revolving Facility, and customary fees on letters of credit issued under the Revolving Facility. As of January 28, 2022, the facility fee rate was 0.11%. The applicable interest rate margins for borrowings, the facility fees and the letter of credit fees under the Revolving Facility are subject to adjustment from time to time based on our long-term senior unsecured debt ratings.
The Revolving Facility contains a number of customary affirmative and negative covenants that, among other things, restrict, subject to certain exceptions, our (including our subsidiaries’) ability to: incur additional liens; sell all or substantially all of our assets; consummate certain fundamental changes or change in our lines of business; and incur additional subsidiary indebtedness. The Revolving Facility also contains financial covenants that require the maintenance of a minimum fixed charge coverage ratio and a maximum leverage ratio. As of January 28, 2022, we were in compliance with all such covenants. The Revolving Facility also contains customary events of default.
As of January 28, 2022, under the Revolving Facility, we had no outstanding borrowings, outstanding letters of credit of $1.9 million, and borrowing availability of $2.0 billion that, due to our intention to maintain borrowing availability related to the commercial paper program described below, could contribute incremental liquidity of $1.76 billion at January 28, 2022. In addition, as of January 28, 2022 we had outstanding letters of credit of $48.6 million which were issued pursuant to separate agreements.
We may issue the CP Notes from time to time in an aggregate amount not to exceed $2.0 billion outstanding at any time. The CP Notes may have maturities of up to 364 days from the date of issue and rank equal in right of payment with all of our other unsecured and unsubordinated indebtedness. We intend to maintain available commitments under the Revolving Facility in an amount at least equal to the amount of CP Notes outstanding at any time. As of January 28, 2022, our consolidated balance sheet reflected outstanding unsecured CP Notes of $54.3 million. CP Notes totaling $181.0 million were held by a wholly-owned subsidiary and therefore are not reflected in the consolidated balance sheets.
In April 2013 we issued $900.0 million aggregate principal amount of 3.25% senior notes due 2023 (the “2023 Senior Notes”) at a discount of $2.4 million, which are scheduled to mature on April 15, 2023. In October 2015 we issued $500.0 million aggregate principal amount of 4.150% senior notes due 2025 (the “2025 Senior Notes”) at a discount of $0.8 million, which are scheduled to mature on November 1, 2025. In April 2017 we issued $600.0 million aggregate principal amount of 3.875% senior notes due 2027 (the “2027 Senior Notes”) at a discount of $0.4 million, which are scheduled to mature on April 15, 2027. In April 2018 we issued $500.0 million aggregate principal amount of 4.125% senior notes due 2028 (the “2028 Senior Notes”) at a discount of $0.5 million, which are scheduled to mature on May 1, 2028. In April 2020 we issued $1.0 billion aggregate principal amount of 3.5% senior notes due 2030 (the “2030 Senior Notes”) at a discount of $0.7 million, which are scheduled to mature on April 3, 2030, and $500.0 million aggregate principal amount of 4.125% senior notes due 2050 (the “2050 Senior Notes”) at a discount of $5.0 million, which are scheduled to mature on April 3, 2050. Collectively, the 2023 Senior Notes, 2025 Senior Notes, 2027 Senior Notes, 2028 Senior Notes, 2030 Senior Notes and 2050 Senior Notes comprise the “Senior Notes”, each of which were issued pursuant to an indenture as supplemented and amended by supplemental indentures relating to each series of Senior Notes (as so supplemented and amended, the “Senior Indenture”). Interest on the 2023 Senior Notes and the 2027 Senior Notes is payable in cash on April 15 and October 15 of each year. Interest on the 2025 and 2028 Senior Notes is payable in cash on May 1 and November 1 of each year. Interest on the 2030 and 2050 Senior Notes is payable in cash on April 3 and October 3 of each year.
We may redeem some or all of the Senior Notes at any time at redemption prices set forth in the Senior Indenture. Upon the occurrence of a change of control triggering event, which is defined in the Senior Indenture, each holder of our Senior Notes has the right to require us to repurchase some or all of such holder’s Senior Notes at a purchase price in cash equal to 101% of the principal amount thereof, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any, to, but excluding, the repurchase date.
The Senior Indenture contains covenants limiting, among other things, our ability (subject to certain exceptions) to consolidate, merge, or sell or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of our assets; and our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries to incur or guarantee indebtedness secured by liens on any shares of voting stock of significant subsidiaries.
The Senior Indenture also provides for events of default which, if any of them occurs, would permit or require the principal of and accrued interest on our Senior Notes to become or to be declared due and payable, as applicable.
Our senior unsecured debt is rated “Baa2,” by Moody’s with a stable outlook and “BBB” by Standard & Poor’s with a stable outlook, and our commercial paper program is rated “P-2” by Moody’s and “A-2” by Standard and Poor’s. Our current credit ratings, as well as future rating agency actions, could (i) impact our ability to finance our operations on satisfactory terms; (ii) affect our financing costs; and (iii) affect our insurance premiums and collateral requirements necessary for our self-insured programs. There can be no assurance that we will maintain or improve our current credit ratings.
Future Cash Requirements
The following table summarizes significant estimated future cash requirements under our various contractual obligations and other commitments at January 28, 2022, in total and disaggregated into current (<1 year) and long-term (1 or more years) obligations (in thousands):
Payments Due by Period
< 1 year
1 - 3 years
3 - 5 years
Long-term debt obligations
Operating lease obligations
Commitments Expiring by Period
< 1 year
1 - 3 years
3 - 5 years
Letters of credit
Total contractual obligations and commercial commitments
|(a)||Represents obligations for interest payments on long-term debt and includes projected interest on variable rate long-term debt using 2021 year end rates and balances. Variable rate long-term debt includes the Revolving Facility (although such facility had a balance of zero as of January 28, 2022), the CP Notes (which had a balance of $54.3 million as of January 28, 2022, and which amount is net of $181 million held by a wholly-owned subsidiary), interest rate swaps being accounted for as fair value hedges, and the balance of an outstanding tax increment financing of $1.9 million.|
|(b)||We retain a significant portion of the risk for our workers’ compensation, employee health, general liability, property loss, automobile, and certain third-party landlord claims exposures. As these obligations do not have scheduled maturities, these amounts represent undiscounted estimates based upon actuarial assumptions. Substantially all amounts are reflected on an undiscounted basis in our consolidated balance sheets.|
|(c)||Commercial commitments include information technology license and support agreements, supplies, fixtures, letters of credit for import merchandise, and other inventory purchase obligations.|
|(d)||Purchase obligations include legally binding agreements for software licenses and support, supplies, fixtures, and merchandise purchases (excluding such purchases subject to letters of credit).|
Share Repurchase Program
Our common stock repurchase program had a total remaining authorization of approximately $2.13 billion at January 28, 2022. The authorization allows repurchases from time to time in open market transactions, including pursuant to trading plans adopted in accordance with Rule 10b5-1 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or in privately negotiated transactions. The timing, manner and number of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors, including price, market conditions, compliance with the covenants and restrictions under our debt agreements and other factors. The repurchase program has no expiration date and may be modified or terminated from time to time at the discretion of our Board of Directors. For more detail about our share repurchase program, see Part II, Item 5 of this report and Note 11 to the consolidated financial statements contained in Part II, Item 8 of this report.
On March 16, 2022, the Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.55 per share which is payable on or before April 19, 2022 to shareholders of record of our common stock on April 5, 2022. We paid
quarterly cash dividends of $0.42 per share in 2021. Although the Board currently expects to continue regular quarterly cash dividends, the declaration and amount of future cash dividends are subject to the Board’s sole discretion and will depend upon, among other factors, our results of operations, cash requirements, financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors that our Board may deem relevant in its sole discretion.
Our inventory balance represented approximately 52% of our total assets exclusive of goodwill, operating lease assets, and other intangible assets as of January 28, 2022. Our ability to effectively manage our inventory balances can have a significant impact on our cash flows from operations during a given fiscal year. Inventory purchases are often somewhat seasonal in nature, such as the purchase of warm-weather or Christmas-related merchandise. Efficient management of our inventory has been and continues to be an area of focus for us.
We utilize supply chain finance programs whereby qualifying suppliers may elect at their sole discretion to sell our payment obligations to designated third party financial institutions. While the terms of these agreements are between the supplier and the financial institution, the supply chain finance financial institutions allow the participating suppliers to utilize our creditworthiness in establishing credit spreads and associated costs. As of January 28, 2022, the amount due to suppliers participating in these supply chain finance programs was $328.2 million.
As described in Note 7 to the consolidated financial statements, we are involved in a number of legal actions and claims, some of which could potentially result in material cash payments. Adverse developments in those actions could materially and adversely affect our liquidity.
Cash flows from operating activities. Cash flows from operating activities were $2.87 billion in 2021, which represents a $1.01 billion decrease compared to 2020. As noted above, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significantly increased sales, gross profit, and operating income in 2020, and our net income decreased $255.8 million in 2021 compared to 2020. Changes in accounts payable resulted in a $98.7 million increase in our working capital in 2021 compared to a $745.6 million increase in 2020, due primarily to the timing of receipts and payments. Changes in accrued expenses resulted in a $37.3 million decrease in our working capital in 2021 compared to a $388.6 million increase in 2020, due primarily to the timing of accruals and payments for payroll taxes and incentive compensation. Changes in merchandise inventories resulted in a $550.1 million decrease in our working capital in 2021 which was similar to the decrease of $575.8 million in 2020 as described in greater detail below. Changes in income taxes in 2021 compared to 2020 are primarily due to the timing of payments for income taxes.
Cash flows from operating activities were $3.88 billion in 2020, which represents a $1.64 billion increase compared to 2019. The increased sales, gross profit, and operating income driven by the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the increase in net income of $942.5 million in 2020 over 2019. Changes in accounts payable resulted in a $745.6 million increase in our working capital in 2020 compared to a $428.6 million increase in 2019, due primarily to the timing of receipts and payments. Changes in accrued expenses resulted in a $388.6 million increase in our working capital in 2020 compared to a $100.3 million increase in 2019, due primarily to increased accruals for incentive compensation and non-income taxes. Changes in merchandise inventories resulted in a $575.8 million decrease in our working capital in 2020 which was similar to the decrease of $578.8 million in 2019 as described in greater detail below. Changes in income taxes including an increase in cash paid for income taxes in 2020 compared to 2019 are primarily due to the increase in pre-tax earnings in 2020.
On an ongoing basis, we closely monitor and manage our inventory balances, and they may fluctuate from period to period based on new store openings, the timing of purchases, and other factors. Merchandise inventories increased by 7% in 2021, by 12% in 2020 and by 14% in 2019. Inventory levels in the consumables category decreased by $1.8 million, or 0%, in 2021, increased by $455.6 million, or 15%, in 2020, and increased by $371.9 million, or 14% in 2019. The seasonal category increased by $177.8 million, or 20%, in 2021, by $35.7 million, or 4%, in 2020, and by $127.3 million, or 17%, in 2019. The home products category increased by $230.0 million, or 45%, in 2021, by $66.3 million, or 15%, in 2020, and by $82.8 million, or 23%, in 2019. The apparel category decreased by $39.2 million, or 10%, in 2021, increased by $12.9 million, or 3%, in 2020, and decreased by $2.1 million, or 1%, in 2019.
Cash flows from investing activities. Significant components of property and equipment purchases in 2021 included the following approximate amounts: $510 million for improvements, upgrades, remodels and relocations of existing stores; $268 million for distribution and transportation-related capital expenditures; $244 million related to store facilities, primarily for leasehold improvements, fixtures and equipment in new stores; and $44 million for information systems upgrades and technology-related projects. The timing of new, remodeled and relocated store openings along with other factors may affect the relationship between such openings and the related property and equipment purchases in any given period. During 2021, we opened 1,050 new stores and remodeled or relocated 1,852 stores.
Significant components of property and equipment purchases in 2020 included the following approximate amounts: $447 million for improvements, upgrades, remodels and relocations of existing stores; $271 million for distribution and transportation-related capital expenditures; $250 million related to store facilities, primarily for leasehold improvements, fixtures and equipment in new stores; and $50 million for information systems upgrades and technology-related projects. During 2020, we opened 1,000 new stores and remodeled or relocated 1,780 stores.
Significant components of property and equipment purchases in 2019 included the following approximate amounts: $338 million for improvements, upgrades, remodels and relocations of existing stores; $217 million for distribution and transportation-related projects; $149 million for new leased stores, primarily for leasehold improvements, fixtures and equipment; and $59 million for information systems upgrades and technology-related projects. During 2019, we opened 975 new stores and remodeled or relocated 1,124 stores.
Capital expenditures during 2022 are projected to be in the range of $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion. We anticipate funding 2022 capital requirements with a combination of some or all of the following: existing cash balances, cash flows from operations, availability under our Revolving Facility and/or the issuance of additional senior notes and CP Notes. We plan to continue to invest in store growth and development of approximately 1,110 new stores and approximately 1,870 stores to be remodeled or relocated. Capital expenditures in 2022 are anticipated to support our store growth as well as our remodel and relocation initiatives, including capital outlays for leasehold improvements, fixtures and equipment; the construction of new stores; costs to support and enhance our supply chain initiatives including new and existing distribution center facilities and our private fleet; technology initiatives; as well as routine and ongoing capital requirements.
Cash flows from financing activities. In 2021, net commercial paper borrowings increased by $54.3 million. and we had no borrowings or repayments under the Revolving Facility. We repurchased 12.1 million shares of our common stock at a total cost of $2.5 billion and paid cash dividends of $392.2 million.
In 2020, net proceeds from the issuance of the 2030 Senior Notes and 2050 Senior Notes totaled $1.5 billion, net commercial paper borrowings decreased by $425.2 million, and borrowings and repayments under the Revolving Facility were $300.0 million each. We repurchased 12.3 million shares of our common stock at a total cost of $2.5 billion and paid cash dividends of $355.9 million.
In 2019, we had a net increase in consolidated commercial paper borrowings of $58.3 million and had no borrowings or repayments under the Revolving Facility. We repurchased 8.3 million outstanding shares of our common stock in 2019 at a total cost of $1.2 billion and paid cash dividends of $327.6 million.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“U.S. GAAP”) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect reported amounts and related disclosures. In addition to the estimates presented below, there are other items within our financial statements that require estimation, but are not deemed critical as defined below. We believe these estimates are reasonable and appropriate. However, if actual experience differs from the assumptions and other considerations used, the resulting changes could have a material effect on the financial statements taken as a whole.
Management believes the following policies and estimates are critical because they involve significant judgments, assumptions, and estimates. Management has discussed the development and selection of the critical accounting estimates with the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors, and the Audit Committee has reviewed the disclosures presented below relating to those policies and estimates. See Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements for a detailed discussion of our principal accounting policies.
Merchandise Inventories. Merchandise inventories are stated at the lower of cost or market (“LCM”) with cost determined using the retail last in, first out (“LIFO”) method. We use the retail inventory method (“RIM”) to calculate gross profit and the resulting valuation of inventories at cost, which are computed utilizing a calculated cost-to-retail inventory ratio to the retail value of sales at an inventory department level. We apply the RIM to these departments, which are groups of products that are fairly uniform in terms of cost, selling price relationship and turnover. The RIM will result in valuing inventories at LCM if permanent markdowns are currently taken as a reduction of the retail value of inventories. Inherent in the RIM calculation are certain management judgments and estimates that may impact the ending inventory valuation at cost, as well as the gross profit recognized. These judgments include ensuring departments consist of similar products, recording estimated shrinkage between physical inventories, and timely recording of markdowns needed to sell inventory.
We perform an annual LIFO analysis whereby all merchandise units are considered for inclusion in the index formulation. An actual valuation of inventory under the LIFO method is made at the end of each year based on the inventory levels and costs at that time. In contrast, interim LIFO calculations are based on management’s annual estimates of sales, the rate of inflation or deflation, and year-end inventory levels. We also perform analyses for determining obsolete inventory, adjusting inventory on a quarterly basis to an LCM value based on various management assumptions including estimated below cost markdowns not yet recorded, but required to liquidate such inventory in future periods.
Factors considered in the determination of markdowns include current and anticipated demand based on changes in competitors’ practices, consumer preferences, consumer spending, significant weather events and unseasonable weather patterns. Certain of these factors are outside of our control and may result in greater than estimated markdowns to entice consumer purchases of excess inventory. The amount and timing of markdowns may vary significantly from year to year.
We perform physical inventories in virtually all of our stores on an annual basis. We calculate our shrink provision based on actual physical inventory results during the fiscal period and an accrual for estimated shrink occurring subsequent to a physical inventory through the end of the fiscal reporting period. This accrual is calculated as a percentage of sales at each retail store, at a department level, based on the store’s most recent historical shrink rate. To the extent that subsequent physical inventories yield different results than the estimated accrual, our effective shrink rate for a given reporting period will include the impact of adjusting to the actual results.
We believe our estimates and assumptions related to the application of the RIM results in a merchandise inventory valuation that reasonably approximates cost on a consistent basis.
Impairment of Long-lived Assets. Impairment of long-lived assets results when the carrying value of the assets exceeds the estimated undiscounted future cash flows generated by the assets. Our estimate of undiscounted future store cash flows is based upon historical operations of the stores and estimates of future profitability which encompasses many factors that are subject to variability and are difficult to predict. If our estimates of future cash flows are not materially accurate, our impairment analysis could be impacted accordingly. If a long-lived asset is found to be impaired, the amount recognized for impairment is equal to the difference between the carrying value and the asset’s estimated fair value. The fair value is estimated based primarily upon projected future cash flows (discounted at our credit adjusted risk-free rate) or other reasonable estimates of fair market value. Although not currently anticipated, changes in these estimates, assumptions or projections could materially affect the determination of fair value or impairment.
Insurance Liabilities. We retain a significant portion of the risk for our workers’ compensation, employee health, general liability, property loss, automobile and certain third-party landlord claim exposures. These represent significant costs primarily due to our large employee base and number of stores. Provisions are made for these
liabilities on an undiscounted basis. Certain of these liabilities are based on actual claim data and estimates of incurred but not reported claims developed using actuarial methodologies based on historical claim trends, which have been and are anticipated to continue to be materially accurate. If future claim trends deviate from recent historical patterns, or other unanticipated events affect the number and significance of future claims, we may be required to record additional expenses or expense reductions, which could be material to our future financial results.
Contingent Liabilities – Income Taxes. Income tax reserves are determined using the methodology established by accounting standards relating to uncertainty in income taxes. These standards require companies to assess each income tax position taken using a two-step process. A determination is first made as to whether it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained, based upon the technical merits, upon examination by the taxing authorities. If the tax position is expected to meet the more likely than not criteria, the benefit recorded for the tax position equals the largest amount that is greater than 50% likely to be realized upon ultimate settlement of the respective tax position. Uncertain tax positions require determinations and liabilities to be estimated based on provisions of the tax law which may be subject to change or varying interpretation. If our determinations and estimates prove to be inaccurate, the resulting adjustments could be material to our future financial results.
Lease Accounting. Lease liabilities are recorded at a discount based upon our estimated collateralized incremental borrowing rate which involves significant judgments and estimates. Factors incorporated into the calculation of lease discount rates include the valuations and yields of our senior notes, their credit spread over comparable U.S. Treasury rates, and an index of the credit spreads for all North American investment grade companies by rating. To determine an indicative secured rate, we use the estimated credit spread improvement that would result from an upgrade of one ratings classification by tenor. Many of our stores are subject to build-to-suit arrangements with landlords, which typically carry a primary lease term of up to 15 years with multiple renewal options. We also have stores subject to shorter-term leases and many of these leases have renewal options. We record single lease expense on a straight-line basis over the lease term including any option periods that are reasonably certain to be renewed, commencing on the date that we take physical possession of the property from the landlord. Tenant allowances, to the extent received, are recorded as a reduction of the right of use asset. Improvements of leased properties are amortized over the shorter of the life of the applicable lease term or the estimated useful life of the asset.
Share-Based Payments. Our stock option awards are valued on an individual grant basis using the Black-Scholes-Merton closed form option pricing model. We believe that this model fairly estimates the value of our stock option awards. The application of this valuation model involves assumptions that are judgmental in the valuation of stock options, which affects compensation expense related to these options. These assumptions include the term that the options are expected to be outstanding, the historical volatility of our stock price, applicable interest rates and the dividend yield of our stock. Other factors involving judgments that affect the expensing of share-based payments include estimated forfeiture rates of share-based awards. Historically, these estimates have been materially accurate; however, if our estimates differ materially from actual experience, we may be required to record additional expense or reductions of expense, which could be material to our future financial results.
Fair Value Measurements. Accounting standards for the measurement of fair value of assets and liabilities establish a fair value hierarchy that distinguishes between market participant assumptions based on market data obtained from sources independent of the reporting entity (observable inputs that are classified within Levels 1 and 2 of the hierarchy) and the reporting entity’s own assumptions about market participant assumptions (unobservable inputs classified within Level 3 of the hierarchy). Therefore, Level 3 inputs are typically based on an entity’s own assumptions, as there is little, if any, related market activity, and thus require the use of significant judgment and estimates. Currently, we have no assets or liabilities that are valued based solely on Level 3 inputs. Our fair value measurements are primarily associated with our outstanding debt instruments. We use various valuation models in determining the values of these liabilities. We believe that in recent years these methodologies have produced materially accurate valuations.
ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
Financial Risk Management
We are exposed to market risk primarily from adverse changes in interest rates, and to a lesser degree commodity prices. To minimize this risk, we may periodically use financial instruments, including derivatives. All derivative financial instrument transactions must be authorized and executed pursuant to approval by the Board of Directors. As a matter of policy, we do not buy or sell financial instruments for speculative or trading purposes, and any such derivative financial instruments are intended to be used to reduce risk by hedging an underlying economic exposure. Our objective is to correlate derivative financial instruments and the underlying exposure being hedged, so that fluctuations in the value of the financial instruments are generally offset by reciprocal changes in the value of the underlying economic exposure.
Interest Rate Risk
We are exposed to changes in interest rates as a result of our short-term borrowings and long-term debt. We manage our interest rate risk through the strategic use of fixed and variable interest rate debt and, from time to time, derivative financial instruments. Currently, we are counterparty to certain interest rate swaps with a total notional amount of $350.0 million entered into in May 2021. These swaps are scheduled to mature in April 2030. Under the terms of these agreements, we swapped fixed interest rates on a portion of our 2030 Senior Notes for three-month LIBOR rates. In recent years, our principal interest rate exposure has been from outstanding borrowings under our Revolving Facility as well as our commercial paper program. As of January 28, 2022, we had $54.3 million of consolidated commercial paper borrowings and no borrowings outstanding under our Revolving Facility. For a detailed discussion of our Revolving Facility and our commercial paper program, see Note 5 to the consolidated financial statements.
A change in interest rates on variable rate debt impacts our pre-tax earnings and cash flows; whereas a change in interest rates on fixed rate debt impacts the economic fair value of debt but not our pre-tax earnings and cash flows. At January 28, 2022, our primary interest rate exposure was from changes in interest rates which affect our variable rate debt. Based on our outstanding variable rate debt as of January 28, 2022, after giving consideration to our interest rate swap agreements, the annualized effect of a one percentage point increase in variable interest rates would have resulted in a pretax reduction of our earnings and cash flows of approximately $4.1 million in 2021.
At January 29, 2021, our primary interest rate exposure was from changes in interest rates on our variable rate investment holdings, which were classified as cash and cash equivalents in our consolidated financial statements. The increase in cash and cash equivalents was driven primarily by our issuance of $1.5 billion of senior unsecured notes during the first quarter of 2020 as we sought to strengthen liquidity as a result of the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on our variable rate cash investment balance of $1.1 billion at January 29, 2021, the annualized effect of a 0.1 percentage point decrease in interest rates would have resulted in a pre-tax reduction of our earnings and cash flows of approximately $1.1 million in 2020.
ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Shareholders and the Board of Directors of
Dollar General Corporation
Opinion on the Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Dollar General Corporation and subsidiaries (the Company) as of January 28, 2022 and January 29, 2021, the related consolidated statements of income, comprehensive income, shareholders' equity and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended January 28, 2022, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company at January 28, 2022 and January 29, 2021, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended January 28, 2022, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of January 28, 2022, based on criteria established in Internal Control-Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework), and our report dated March 18, 2022, expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.
Basis for Opinion
These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Critical Audit Matter
The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective or complex judgments. The communication of the critical audit matter does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical
audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosure to which it relates.
Estimate of Workers’ Compensation and General Liability Reserves
Description of the Matter
The Company records expenses and reserves for workers’ compensation matters related to alleged work-related employee accidents and injuries, as well as general liability matters related to alleged non-employee incidents and injuries. At January 28, 2022, the Company’s reserves for self-insurance risks were $257.4 million, which includes workers’ compensation and general liability reserves. As discussed in Note 1 of the consolidated financial statements, the Company retains a significant portion of risk related to its workers’ compensation and general liability exposures. Accordingly, provisions are recorded for the Company’s estimates of such losses. The undiscounted future claim costs for the workers’ compensation and general liability exposures are estimated using actuarial methods.
Auditing management’s assessment of the recorded workers’ compensation and general liability self-insurance exposure reserves was complex and judgmental due to the significant assumptions required in projecting the exposure on incurred claims (including those which have not been reported to the Company). In particular, the estimate was sensitive to significant assumptions such as loss development factors, trend factors, pure loss rates, and projected claim counts.
How We Addressed the Matter in Our Audit
We obtained an understanding, evaluated the design, and tested the operating effectiveness of controls over the Company’s accounting for these self-insurance exposures. For example, we tested controls over the appropriateness of the assumptions management used in the calculation and the completeness and accuracy of the data underlying the reserves.
To test the Company’s determination of the estimated required workers’ compensation and general liability self-insurance reserves, we performed audit procedures that included, among others, assessing the actuarial valuation methodologies utilized by management, testing the significant assumptions discussed above, testing the completeness and accuracy of the underlying data used by the Company in its evaluation, and testing the mathematical accuracy of the calculations. We also compared the significant assumptions used by management to industry accepted actuarial assumptions, reassessed the accuracy of management’s historical estimates utilized in prior period evaluations, and utilized an actuarial valuation specialist to assist in assessing the valuation methodologies and significant assumptions used in the valuation analysis, as well as to compare the Company’s recorded reserve to an independently developed range of actuarial reserves.
/s/ Ernst & Young LLP
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2001.
March 18, 2022
DOLLAR GENERAL CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
Cash and cash equivalents
Income taxes receivable
Prepaid expenses and other current assets
Total current assets
Net property and equipment
Operating lease assets
Other intangible assets, net
Other assets, net
LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY
Current portion of operating lease liabilities
Accrued expenses and other
Income taxes payable
Total current liabilities
Long-term operating lease liabilities
Deferred income taxes
Commitments and contingencies
Common stock; $0.875 par value, 1,000,000 shares authorized, 230,016 and 240,785 sharesand at January 28, 2022 and January 29, 2021, respectively
Additional paid-in capital
Accumulated other comprehensive loss
Total shareholders’ equity
Total liabilities and shareholders' equity
The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements.
DOLLAR GENERAL CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
For the Year Ended
Cost of goods sold
Selling, general and administrative expenses
Income before income taxes
Income tax expense
Earnings per share:
Weighted average shares outstanding:
Dividends per share
The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements.
DOLLAR GENERAL CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
For the Year Ended
Unrealized net gain (loss) on hedged transactions, net of related income tax expense (benefit) of $346, $346, and $345, respectively
The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements.
DOLLAR GENERAL CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY
(In thousands except per share amounts)
Balances, February 1, 2019
Dividends paid, $1.28 per common share
Unrealized net gain (loss) on hedged transactions
Share-based compensation expense
Repurchases of common stock
Transition adjustment upon adoption of accounting standard (see Note 1)
Other equity and related transactions
Balances, January 31, 2020
Dividends paid, $1.44 per common share
Unrealized net gain (loss) on hedged transactions
Share-based compensation expense
Repurchases of common stock
Other equity and related transactions
Balances, January 29, 2021
Dividends paid, $1.68 per common share
Unrealized net gain (loss) on hedged transactions
Share-based compensation expense
Repurchases of common stock