Dollar General stock jumps after it brings back former CEO to jolt slowing sales growth

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The exterior of a Dollar General convenience store is seen in Austin, Texas, on March 16, 2023.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

Dollar General’s former CEO Todd Vasos is coming out of retirement to helm the company, which aims to rebound from slowing growth and allegations of unsafe working conditions.

Vasos, who served as the discounter’s CEO between June 2015 to November 2022, will replace Jeff Owen effective immediately, the company announced on Thursday.

“The Board has tremendous respect for Jeff and greatly appreciates his many contributions to the Company, especially during his long tenure leading our retail operations,” said Michael Calbert, the chairman of the company’s board, in a statement. The Board, however, has decided that at this time a new leadership is needed to restore confidence and stability in the Company. “Owen was in the role less than a month. Dollar General employs more than 185,000 full- and part-time employees. Dollar General has more than 185,000 full- and part-time employees.

Dollar General shares jumped more than 6% in extended trading Thursday.

Lower guidance

When it last reported earnings, Dollar General cut its full-year profit guidance. It did so again Thursday, and said it was now expecting earnings per share of about $7.10 to $7.60, compared to its previous expectation of $7.10 to $8.30.

Dollar General also said it anticipates net sales growth of 1.5% to 2.5%, revised from a previous expectation of 1.3% to 3.3%.

The company said it expects same-store sales to be in a range of flat to down 1% this year, versus a prior expectation of a 1% decline to a 1% increase.

Vasos said in a statement he is “honored” to rejoin the company at such a “pivotal time. “

“I look forward to getting back to work with the broader team as we strive to return to a position of operational excellence for our employees and customers and deliver sustainable long-term growth and value creation for our shareholders,” said Vasos.

Slowing sales have come amid pressure from employees and activists over working conditions. Over the board’s objections, shareholders passed a motion in May to launch an independent audit of worker safety. It was not clear if this measure was legally binding or if Dollar General would implement it. Dollar General has been fined more than $21million by federal officials over issues such as blocked fire exits and electrical outlets. Dollar General’s spokesperson stated that the company wants to create an environment where employees can grow in their careers, serve the local community, and feel valued. “