Stock Analysis

Be Wary Of Dollar General (NYSE:DG) And Its Returns On Capital

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NYSE:DG
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If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. One common approach is to try and find a company with returns on capital employed (ROCE) that are increasing, in conjunction with a growing amount of capital employed. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. In light of that, when we looked at Dollar General (NYSE:DG) and its ROCE trend, we weren't exactly thrilled.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed 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)

0.15 = US$3.1b ÷ (US$28b - US$7.6b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2022).

So, Dollar General has an ROCE of 15%. That's a relatively normal return on capital, and it's around the 13% generated by the Multiline Retail industry.

View our latest analysis for Dollar General

roce
NYSE:DG Return on Capital Employed September 19th 2022

In the above chart we have measured Dollar General's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Dollar General here for free.

What Can We Tell From Dollar General's ROCE Trend?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at Dollar General doesn't inspire confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 15% from 22% five years ago. However it looks like Dollar General might be reinvesting for long term growth because while capital employed has increased, the company's sales haven't changed much in the last 12 months. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.

The Bottom Line On Dollar General's ROCE

Bringing it all together, while we're somewhat encouraged by Dollar General's reinvestment in its own business, we're aware that returns are shrinking. Investors must think there's better things to come because the stock has knocked it out of the park, delivering a 229% gain to shareholders who have held over the last five years. Ultimately, if the underlying trends persist, we wouldn't hold our breath on it being a multi-bagger going forward.

One more thing, we've spotted 2 warning signs facing Dollar General that you might find interesting.

If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive 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.

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About NYSE:DG

Dollar General

Dollar General Corporation, a discount retailer, provides various merchandise products in the southern, southwestern, Midwestern, and eastern United States.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Valuation2
Future Growth2
Past Performance3
Financial Health3
Dividends1

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Acceptable track record with mediocre balance sheet.