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Dollar General Corp.  (DG - Get Report) posted weaker-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Thursday and issued full-year profit guidance for 2019 that also fell shy of forecasts.

Dollar General said adjusted earnings for the three months ending on February 1, the company's fiscal fourth quarter, came in at $1.84 per share, up 24% from the same period last year but five cents shy of the FactSet consensus forecast. Group sales, Dollar General said, rose 8.5% to $6.6 billion, a figure that matched the analysts' forecasts, but noted that same store sales rose by 4% from the same period last year, well ahead of the expected increase of 2.5%.

Looking into 2019, Dollar General said it sees diluted earnings in the region of $6.30 to $6.50 per share, well shy of the Refinitiv forecast $6.65 per share. Dollar General sees same-store sales growth of around 2.5% for the 12-month period.

"2018 was a great year for Dollar General and we entered 2019 with a strong foundation for success," said CEO Todd Vasos. "During the fourth quarter we delivered strong same-store sales growth, driven by performance in both consumable and non-consumable product sales, which resulted in our highest two-year same-store sales stack in 21 quarters."

"We also continued to make progress executing our Digital and Non-Consumables strategic initiatives, while staying true to our ongoing operating priorities," he added. "Looking ahead to 2019, we are excited to introduce two new transformational strategic initiatives, DG Fresh and Fast Track."

Dollar General shares were marked 7.7% lower at the start of trading on Wall Street to change hands at $111.39 each, a move that trims the stock's year-to-date gain to around 3.4%.