NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Dollar General Corp. (DG) - Get Dollar General Corporation Report received a price target increase to $76 from $74 at Barclays this morning. The firm maintained its "equal weight" rating on the stock.
Barclays raised its full year 2015 earnings estimates to $3.92 per share from $3.89 per share.
"It seems a tad ironic that in the same year DG sees an inflection point in its gross margin (after two years of declines), it decides to invest in store-level labor and as a result will not leverage store expenses in 2H15 (based on current guidance)," Barclays said in a note.
The firm believes that the increase to traffic and sales from adding labor hours will not be immediate, but comps and op income growth will accelerate in 2016.
Dollar General has had a number of recent initiatives, including rolling out tobacco, adding value-priced merchandise and creating a digital coupon program. But the market has not reflected confidence, Barclays said.
Some of the initiatives have slowed sales, and the company's core customers have been "sluggish" in growth despite apparent economic upturn, according to Barclays.
Shares of Dollar General were up 0.31% to $74.50 in early morning trading on Friday.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates DOLLAR GENERAL CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate DOLLAR GENERAL CORP (DG) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- DG's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
- Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 25.81% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, DG should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
- DOLLAR GENERAL CORP has improved earnings per share by 16.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, DOLLAR GENERAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.50 versus $3.17 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.95 versus $3.50).
- Net operating cash flow has increased to $343.89 million or 36.75% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 6.33%.
- The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.50, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.11 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: DG Ratings Report