Dollar Tree Inc. shares climbed the most in more than two decades after the company boosted its share-repurchase authorization and said it would move above the $1-an-item price point that gave the discounter its name.
The board lifted potential buybacks by $1.05 billion to $2.5 billion, the company said in a statement Wednesday. Separately, Dollar Tree unveiled a plan at its legacy stores to begin testing sales of products that cost more than $1.
Many customers “are telling us that they also want a broader product assortment when they come to shop,” Dollar Tree Chief Executive Officer Michael Witynski said in the statement. “Testing additional price points above $1 for Dollar Tree product will enable us over time to expand our assortments, introduce new products and meet more of our customers’ everyday needs.”
The experiment signals the potential end of an era for Dollar Tree — which has long based its business on the $1 price point — as inflation pushes up the cost of many goods. Twelve-month growth in U.S. consumer prices surged past the 5% mark this year for the first time in more than a decade as rising demand collided with supply constraints in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dollar Tree soared 16% to $100.51 a share at the close in New York, which was the biggest gain since October 2000. The stock has now fallen 7% this year — the largest drop on a Standard & Poor’s index of 22 U.S. retailers.
In addition to the sales test of higher-priced items at its legacy establishments, Dollar Tree also will add more goods that go for more than a buck at its Combo and Dollar Tree Plus stores, which were already charging $3 or $5 for some items. Dollar General Corp., a rival chain, also sells products for more than $1.
Dollar Tree is on track to have 500 Plus stores by the end of its fiscal year in January, and plans to open another 1,500 next year. It’s also planning to add 400 Combo stores in fiscal 2022, almost four times as many as the format’s total store count now. As a whole, Dollar Tree operated 15,865 stores in the U.S. and Canada as of July 31.