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Dollar Tree eyes merger close; Q4 results improve

Dollar Tree on Wednesday said it expected to reach agreement with federal antitrust regulators early next month on the identities of around 300 stores to be divested as part of its pending merger with Family Dollar Stores.

The Chesapeake, Va.-based retailer added that it was seeking to close the $9.2 billion deal April 27.

Dollar Tree provided the update while reviewing financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Jan. 31. For the quarter, increases in store traffic and higher margins led to an 8% increase in net earnings to $206.6 million on sales of $2.5 billion, a 10.8% increase. Same-store sales improved by 5.6% in the quarter. Gross margin as a percent of sales climbed to 37.1% from 36.9 in the same period last year, reflecting reductions in markdowns and higher initial markups, as well as greater leverage on occupancy and distribution costs.

Officials in a conference call said attention to seasonally appropriate foods and consumables — such as broths and foil food pans for Thanksgiving — helped those categories show comp growth in the quarter.

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