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American discount retailer Dollar General has posted 13% growth in net sales to $3.90bn in first quarter (Q1)of 2012, compared to $3.45bn in the same quarter a year ago.

By category, sales of consumables grew 13.8%, seasonal sales rose 14.8%, sales of home products advanced 10.6% and apparel sales increased 3.9% in the reporting quarter.

Same-store sales, or sales at store open at least a year, were up by 6.7% in the 13-week period ended 4 May 2012, due to rises in both customer traffic and average transaction amount.

In the first quarter, net income surged 36% to $213m from $157m in the corresponding quarter a year earlier. Adjusted net income soared 29% to $215m from $166m in the first quarter of 2011.

Gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 31.5% in both the 2012 and 2011 quarters. Operating profit jumped 19% to $384m, or 9.9% of sales, in the first quarter, compared to $322m, or 9.3% of sales, in the same quarter of previous year.

Selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A), as a percentage of sales, were 21.6% in the first quarter of 2012, compared to 22.2% in the same quarter of last year, an improvement of 56 basis points.

Dollar General chairman and chief executive officer Rick Dreiling said first quarter’s same-store sales growth represents the fifth consecutive quarter of accelerating improvement.

"I believe we are positioned well to invest in the future of our business as we continue to redefine small-box retailing and reinforce Dollar General’s role as America’s general store," Dreiling added.

As of 4 May 2012, the company operated 10,052 stores in 40 states of the US, offering products such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items.

Dollar General also sells products from manufacturers like Coca-Cola, General Mills, Hanes, Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark, Nabisco, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever.

Image: Dollar General same-store sales grew 6.7% in the 13-week period ended 4 May 2012. Photo: Dollar General Corporation