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MarketWatch MarketPulseMar 31, 2020
Dollar Tree withdraws guidance amid coronavirus-related uncertainty heading into peak Easter shopping season
Dollar Tree Inc. said Tuesday that it is withdrawing its fiscal first-quarter and full-year outlook as the discount retailer heads into peak Easter shopping season beneath a cloud of uncertainty. Shares tumbled 3.6% in Tuesday premarket trading. Same-store sales trends soared through March 29, with the namesake chain up 7.1% and Family Dollar up 14.4%. However trends have "moderated," the company said, with same-store sales at Family Dollar up 8.8% for the seven days ending March 29 and Dollar Tree down 19.4% for the period. Food and household consumable sales remain strong, however the company's ability to restock items in high demand, weaker-than-expected sales in discretionary categories and the impact of the coronavirus on the Easter selling season raise questions. There were also higher first-quarter costs associated with pay and benefits, and other measures tied to the pandemic response. And there are concerns about gross margins due to the merchandise mix. As of March 30, Dollar Tree has $1.9 billion in cash and investments, including $750 million drawn down from its $1.25 billion revolving credit line. The company plans to pay $250 million due in April. All remodels and installations have been halted until April 27. The company doesn't expect to repurchase shares in the near-term. It is scheduled to report fiscal first-quarter earnings on May 28. Dollar Tree stock is down 15.1% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index has sunk 18.7% for the period.

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