Dollarama Inc. is raising its dividend 27 per cent after reporting "record results" in fiscal 2013, including a big increase in fourth-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates.
The Montreal-based discount chain said net earnings rose to $77.1-million or $1.04 per diluted share in the quarter ended Feb. 3, which had 14 weeks this year.
That was up from $63.6-million or 84 cents per share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, a normal 13-week period that ended Jan. 29.
Sales revenue, helped by the additional week as well as new stores, totalled $561.9-million, up 19.9 per cent from $468.7-million in fiscal 2012.
Dollarama noted that comparable store sales, which it calculated on a 13-week basis, were up 4.6 per cent, while those on 52-week full-year basis were up 6.5 per cent.
Normalized earnings, adjusted to exclude non-recurring items, were $1.06 in the quarter, up from 84 cents per share a year earlier.
Analysts had been looking for $1.02 per share of adjusted earnings, $1.03 per share of net income and $546.33-million of revenue in the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters estimates.
For all of fiscal 2013, which had 53 weeks, the company reported net earnings of just under $221-million or $2.94 per diluted share on sales of $1.86-billion.
That compared with fiscal 2012, a 52-week year, when net earnings were $173.5-million or $2.30 per diluted share on sales of $1.6-billion.
The increased quarterly dividend, up three cents from 11 to 14 cents per share, is payable May 7 to shareholders of record April 30. Based on Thursday's closing price of $64.64 per share, that would produce an annual yield of just under 0.9 per cent.
"We are very pleased with our fourth-quarter and full-year financial and operating results," CEO Larry Rossy said in remarks accompanying the results.
"Our focus on execution at all levels has translated into continued double-digit growth in sales, operating income and net earnings. We are particularly happy to deliver 6.5 per cent growth in comparable store sales in fiscal year 2013, while at the same time increasing the pace of new store openings as we have opened a record 81 net new stores during this fiscal year."
RBC analysts Irene Nattel and Tal Woolley said the strong sales performance should alleviate investor concerns about beating tough comparables last year.
"We anticipate that the results delivered today combined with share buybacks and the dividend increase will continue to build investor enthusiasm for Dollarama shares," they wrote in a research note.
Dollarama now has 785 locations across the country offering a broad assortment of everyday consumer products, general merchandise and seasonal items sold in individual or multiple units at fixed price points up to $3.