Better Buy: Dollar General vs. Dollar Tree

Greenback General (DG -.62%) and Dollar Tree (DLTR -.71%), the two largest greenback shop chains in The us, have been resilient shares to possess for the duration of recessions. Both equally stores generally turn out to be well known locations during economic downturns as hard cash-strapped shoppers hunt for bargains.

Both companies continued to broaden their fleet of brick-and-mortar suppliers as the “retail apocalypse” crushed other merchants above the previous decade. They also shored up their defenses towards Amazon and Walmart by concentrating on decrease-money neighborhoods. 

As the U.S. teeters on the brink of a economic downturn, Dollar General and Dollar Tree each search like sound defensive investments. But is one particular of these lower price suppliers a far more powerful acquire suitable now?

A person shops in a grocery store.

Graphic supply: Getty Images.

The differences among these two suppliers

Dollar Standard is not a accurate “greenback” retail outlet that sells almost everything for a greenback. Rather, it is a low cost retailer that generally targets rural spots that haven’t been saturated by superstores.

In between the initial quarters of fiscal 2017 and 2022, Dollar Common expanded its overall retailer depend from 13,601 to 18,356 areas. Its annual income expanded at a compound yearly growth price (CAGR) of 9.2% from fiscal 2016 to 2021, and it knowledgeable accelerating gross sales in the course of the pandemic as more customers stocked up on household solutions.

Dollar General’s gross margin increased from 30.8% in fiscal 2016 to 31.6% in fiscal 2021, even as it endured increased tariffs on Chinese products throughout the Trump Administration, and its earnings for every share (EPS) grew at a CAGR of 18.1% throughout these 5 several years.

Greenback Tree acquired its rival Family Dollar in 2015, and it predominantly serves city and suburban places. Greenback Tree’s namesake banner to begin with marketed all of its items for $1, but elevated its price ranges for the initial time to $1.25 very last yr.

Loved ones Dollar sells most of its goods for less than $10. But above the past couple of years, Family Dollar extra Greenback Tree sections to some of its spots, though changing other individuals to Family Greenback and Greenback Tree “combo” shops. Amongst the to start with quarters of fiscal 2017 and 2022, the company expanded its merged retail store count from 14,482 to 16,162 locations.

Involving fiscal 2016 and 2021, Dollar Tree’s annual revenue improved at a CAGR of 4.9% as its EPS grew at a CAGR of 8.9%. Nevertheless, its gross margin declined from 37.3% in 2016 to 29.4% in 2021 as it grappled with larger tariffs and sluggish gross sales at Family Dollar, which struggled a lot additional against its lower price opponents than its Dollar Tree suppliers.

Family Dollar also temporarily closed about 400 of its outlets in the very first quarter of fiscal 2022 to offer with products recollects connected to a rodent infestation. Dollar Common didn’t experience any equivalent setbacks.

Traders are more bullish on Greenback Standard

In excess of the past five several years, Greenback General’s stock has rallied extra than 230% as Greenback Tree’s inventory highly developed practically 120%. Dollar Normal attracted far more bulls than Greenback Tree for 4 easy factors: Its focus on rural places uncovered it to a lot less level of competition, it was rising more rapidly, its gross margins ended up growing as a substitute of contracting, and it was not burdened by a sluggish-progress banner like Spouse and children Dollar.

That trend could proceed this year. For fiscal 2022, Dollar General expects its exact same-store revenue to rise 3% to 3.5% and for its net sales to boost 10%-10.5% (which include a two-share-place gain from a 53rd week) as it opens 1,110 new retailers. It expects its EPS to improve 12% to 14% (which also incudes a 4-proportion-place benefit from the 53rd 7 days).

Dollar Tree expects its exact same-retail store gross sales to increase by the mid-single digits in fiscal 2022, and for its net sales to develop 5.5%-7%. It failed to supply an exact focus on for its new keep openings, but it expects its whole marketing square footage to boost by close to 3.9% for the full year. It expects its EPS to expand 34% to 41% as it raises its costs and reins in its expenses.

The valuations and verdict

Greenback Standard trades at 20 instances ahead earnings and pays a forward dividend yield of approximately 1%. Greenback Tree trades at 19 times forward earnings and would not fork out any dividends.

Greenback Typical and Greenback Tree should really each be very good stocks to personal as inflation and rising rates rattle the markets. But if I had to opt for 1 over the other, I’d nevertheless stick with Dollar Typical — it plainly beats Greenback Tree across quite a few vital regions, trades at a similar valuation, and pays a dividend.