When Dollar General CEO Rick Dreiling talked last week about stepping up to meet competitors' price cuts and safeguarding his volumes, a good bit of the ensuing chatter centered on the rollout of cigarettes across the company's huge store network. Analyst Mark Montagna at Avondale Partners has modeled some numbers based on some projections from Dreiling as well as the experience of rival Family Dollar. There, Montagna says, 26 percent of purchases are made by smokers whose average spend is $3 higher than non-smokers.
Pulling those numbers all the way through his model, Montagna says average same-store sales will rise almost $50,000, or 3.1 percent, by the end of 2013. If those numbers materialize, look for many investors to return to Dollar General, which has lost about 20 percent of its value (Ticker: DG) since its summer peak. Montagna's price target is $55, 25 percent above Friday's close.