Growth investing doesn't have to be difficult. Success can be attained by buying well-established businesses with strong brands and room for further growth. Consider Dollar Tree(NASDAQ: DLTR), which may not be a familiar name to growth investors. But its eponymous Dollar Tree and Family Dollar discount store chains are well-known to consumers throughout North America.
This should pique the interest of growth investors. Could the stock could be a good fit for their portfolios? Let's dig in to find out.
The company still has growth left in its future
Tracing its roots back to 1953, Dollar Tree has grown immensely over the decades. The company's combined store count of its Dollar Tree and Family Dollar brands was over 16,300 throughout 48 U.S. states and five provinces in Canada as of Jan. 28.
Based on this immense size, investors may jump to the conclusion that Dollar Tree's days of rapid growth are already behind it. But a look at the company's recent earnings results and its future growth strategy arguably proves this assumption wrong.
The Virginia-based retailer recorded $7.7 billion in consolidated net sales in its fiscal fourth quarter (ended Jan. 28) -- up 9% over the year-ago period. Even with inflation on a downward trajectory, elevated readings have made consumers more cost-conscious over the past year, drawing them to stores with a strong value proposition like Dollar Tree.
That explains how Dollar Tree's total same-store sales grew at a 7.4% year-over-year rate during the fourth quarter. This, together with a 1.6% year-over-year in total stores to 16,340, is the math behind the company's high single-digit net sales growth for the quarter.
Dollar Tree's diluted earnings per share (EPS) edged 1.5% higher year over year to $2.04 in the fiscal fourth quarter. Due to faster growth in selling, general and administrative expenses (13.5%) during the quarter, the company's net margin contracted by nearly 60 basis points to 5.9%. This decline in profitability was only partially neutralized by a 1.9% reduction in the diluted weighted average share count. That is why diluted EPS growth lagged net sales growth for the quarter.
As prevalent as Dollar Tree stores are throughout the U.S. and Canada, the company should be able to open plenty more of them each year for the foreseeable future. It has also added Plus items in the $3 to $5 price point range to more stores. As a result, analysts believe Dollar Tree's diluted EPS could grow at nearly a 16% rate over the next five years. By contrast, the discount store industry, on average, is expected to grow earnings at just a 5.2% pace.
A financially healthy business
Dollar Tree also appears to possess the needed financial strength to finance hundreds of store openings each year. That's because the company's net debt is expected to be around $2.8 billion for the current fiscal year set to end next January.
Stacked against the $2.9 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) that analysts are projecting for the year, this is a net debt-to-EBITDA ratio of under 1.
Just like its products, the stock is a good value
Shares of Dollar Tree have been flat so far this year. But the stagnant stock price could represent an attractive buying opportunity for growth investors.
Dollar Tree's forward price-to-earnings ratio of 17.9 is below the discount stores industry average of 21.5. Yet, the company boasts earnings growth prospects that are triple the industry peer consensus. In other words, Dollar Tree's stock is too much of a value to pass up.
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Kody Kester has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.