Dollar General Raises Dividend

Dollar General ( DG) is bumping up its cash dividend, just days before it plans to release its fourth-quarter report.

Late Friday, the deep discounter announced plans to increase its quarterly dividend 14% to 4 cents a share vs. 3.5 cents a share last year. The new dividend will be paid on April 15 to shareholders of record on April 1.

Investors cheered the dividend increase. In after-hours trading, the company's shares rose 27 cents, or 1.3%, to $20.39. In Friday's regular session, the discounter's shares closed up 1 cent, or 0.1%, to $20.12.

Dollar General's dividend increase marks at least the second year in a row it has upped its payout to shareholders. Last year, the company boosted its quarterly dividend 9% to 3.5 cents a share.

The retailer plans to release its fourth-quarter earnings before the opening bell on Monday. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call estimate that Dollar General earned 34 cents a share in the quarter on $1.97 billion in sales.

In the same period last year, the company earned $108.1 million, or 32 cents a share, on sales of $1.76 billion.

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