Dollar Tree Scraps 2020 Earnings Guidance Amid Coronavirus Uncertainty

Dollar Tree sales were boosted by shoppers looking for coronavirus essentials, but near-term projections for the discount retailer were withdrawn amid the "current state of uncertainty".
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Dollar Tree Inc.  (DLTR) - Get Report said Tuesday that it has seen a "material pickup" in sales amid the coronavirus pandemic but will scrap its earnings guidance for the quarter and the year as it hires more workers and modifies store hours.

Dollar Tree said same-store sales from February 2 to March 29, the bulk of the group's fiscal first quarter, were up 7.1%, with a 14.4% increase at its Family Dollar division, thanks to sales of essential household products such as cleaning supplies, paper goods and over-the-counter medicines.

However, Dollar Tree said "uncertain customer demand and government actions" related to the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as a volatile economic environment have forced the company to pull its first quarter and full-year earnings projections and suspend further share buyback plans.

“Customers rely on Dollar Tree and Family Dollar as an essential retailer for their daily shopping needs. Understandably, they are very concerned about the recent global spread of the coronavirus," said CEO Gary Philbin. 

"Our stores experienced an unprecedented spike in demand for certain products,” he added. “Our efforts have been focused on continuing to protect the health and safety of our associates and customers, and to effectively serve customers during their time of need.”  

Dollar Tree shares were marked 2.32% lower in pre-market trading Tuesday to indicate an opening bell price of $78.00 each. 

Earlier this month, Dollar Tree has expected full-year sales in the region of $24.2 billion to $24.66 billion, and earnings of between $4.80 to $5.15 per share, after it posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings.