Stock Analysis

Dollar General (NYSE:DG) Will Be Hoping To Turn Its Returns On Capital Around

NYSE:DG
Source: Shutterstock

What are the early trends we should look for to identify a stock that could multiply in value over the long term? Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing base of capital employed. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. Although, when we looked at Dollar General (NYSE:DG), it didn't seem to tick all of these boxes.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. To calculate this metric for Dollar General, this is the formula:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.14 = US$3.3b ÷ (US$29b - US$5.9b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to February 2023).

Therefore, Dollar General has an ROCE of 14%. In absolute terms, that's a satisfactory return, but compared to the Consumer Retailing industry average of 12% it's much better.

See our latest analysis for Dollar General

roce
NYSE:DG Return on Capital Employed March 20th 2023

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Dollar General compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

The Trend Of ROCE

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at Dollar General doesn't inspire confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 21% over the last five years. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.

Our Take On Dollar General's ROCE

In summary, despite lower returns in the short term, we're encouraged to see that Dollar General is reinvesting for growth and has higher sales as a result. And long term investors must be optimistic going forward because the stock has returned a huge 136% to shareholders in the last five years. So while the underlying trends could already be accounted for by investors, we still think this stock is worth looking into further.

One more thing to note, we've identified 1 warning sign with Dollar General and understanding it should be part of your investment process.

For those who like to invest in solid companies, check out this free list of companies with solid balance sheets and high returns on equity.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Dollar General is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.