Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Jan. 30, 2021
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Description of Business
Unless otherwise stated, references to “we,” “us,” and “our” in this annual report on Form 10-K refer to Dollar Tree, Inc. and its direct and indirect subsidiaries on a consolidated basis.
We are a leading operator of discount retail stores in the United States and Canada. Below are those accounting policies that we consider to be significant.
Principles of Consolidation
The consolidated financial statements include the financial statements of Dollar Tree, Inc., and its wholly-owned subsidiaries. All significant intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.
Segment Information
At January 30, 2021, we operate more than 15,600 retail discount stores in 48 states and five Canadian provinces. Our operations are conducted in two reporting business segments: Dollar Tree and Family Dollar. We define our segments as those operations whose results our chief operating decision maker (“CODM”) regularly reviews to analyze performance and allocate resources.
The Dollar Tree segment is the leading operator of discount variety stores offering merchandise predominantly at the fixed price point of $1.00. The Dollar Tree segment includes our operations under the “Dollar Tree” and “Dollar Tree Canada” brands, 15 distribution centers in the United States and two distribution centers in Canada.
The Family Dollar segment operates a chain of general merchandise retail discount stores providing consumers with a selection of competitively-priced merchandise in convenient neighborhood stores. The Family Dollar segment consists of our operations under the “Family Dollar” brand and 11 distribution centers.
Refer to Note 12 for additional information regarding our operating segments.
Foreign Currency
The functional currencies of certain of our international subsidiaries are the local currencies of the countries in which the subsidiaries are located. Foreign currency denominated assets and liabilities are translated into U.S. dollars using the exchange rates in effect at the consolidated balance sheet date. Results of operations and cash flows are translated using the average exchange rates throughout the period. The effect of exchange rate fluctuations on translation of assets and liabilities is included as a component of shareholders’ equity in accumulated other comprehensive loss. Gains and losses from foreign currency transactions, which are included in “Other expense (income), net” have not been significant.
Fiscal Year
Our fiscal year is a 52-week or 53-week period ending on the Saturday closest to January 31. References to “2020” or “fiscal 2020,” “2019” or “fiscal 2019,” and “2018” or “fiscal 2018” relate to the 52-week fiscal years ended January 30, 2021, February 1, 2020, and February 2, 2019, respectively.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents at January 30, 2021 and February 1, 2020 includes $1,135.0 million and $287.6 million, respectively, of investments primarily in money market securities which are valued at cost, which approximates fair value. We consider all highly-liquid debt instruments with original maturities of three months or less to be cash equivalents. The majority of payments due from financial institutions for the settlement of debit card and credit card transactions process within three business days, and therefore are classified as cash and cash equivalents.
Merchandise Inventories
Merchandise inventories at our distribution centers are stated at the lower of cost or net realizable value, determined on a weighted-average cost basis. Cost is assigned to store inventories using the retail inventory method on a weighted-average basis. Under the retail inventory method, the valuation of inventories at cost and the resulting gross margins are computed by applying a calculated cost-to-retail ratio to the retail value of inventories.
Costs directly associated with warehousing and distribution are capitalized as merchandise inventories. Total warehousing and distribution costs capitalized into inventory amounted to $172.7 million and $169.7 million at January 30, 2021 and February 1, 2020, respectively.
Property, Plant and Equipment
Property, plant and equipment are stated at cost and depreciated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the respective assets as follows:
39 to 40 years
Furniture, fixtures and equipment
3 to 15 years
Leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of the estimated useful lives of the respective assets or the related lease terms. Amortization is included in “Selling, general and administrative expenses” in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations.
Costs incurred related to software developed for internal use are capitalized and amortized, generally over three years.
Capitalized Interest
We capitalize interest on borrowed funds during the construction of certain property and equipment. We capitalized $3.2 million, $2.4 million and $4.2 million of interest costs in the years ended January 30, 2021, February 1, 2020 and February 2, 2019, respectively.
Insurance Reserves and Restricted Cash
We utilize a combination of insurance and self-insurance programs, including a wholly-owned captive insurance entity, to provide for the potential liabilities for certain risks, including workers’ compensation, general liability and automobile liability. Liabilities associated with the risks that are retained by us are not discounted and are estimated, in part, by considering claims experience, exposure and severity factors and other actuarial assumptions.
Dollar Tree Insurance, Inc., a South Carolina-based wholly-owned captive insurance subsidiary of ours, charges the operating subsidiary companies premiums to insure the retained workers’ compensation, general liability and automobile liability exposures. Pursuant to South Carolina insurance regulations, Dollar Tree Insurance, Inc. maintains certain levels of cash and cash equivalents related to its self-insured exposures.
We also maintain certain cash balances related to our insurance programs, which are held in trust and restricted as to withdrawal or use.
Lease Accounting
In the first quarter of fiscal 2019, we adopted Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) No. 2016-02, “Leases (Topic 842)” and subsequent amendments, using the optional effective date transition method provided by accounting pronouncement, ASU No. 2018-11, “Leases (Topic 842): Targeted Improvements” and recorded a cumulative effect adjustment to beginning retained earnings. Our reporting for the fiscal 2018 comparative period presented in the consolidated financial statements continues to be in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 840, “Leases.” Adoption of the standard resulted in the recognition of Operating lease right-of-use assets and Operating lease liabilities of $6.2 billion and $6.1 billion, respectively, and a reduction to Retained earnings of $65.3 million, net of tax, as of February 3, 2019. For fiscal 2019, the adoption of the standard did not have a material impact on our consolidated statements of operations or consolidated statements of cash flows.
Our lease portfolio primarily consists of leases for our retail store locations and we also lease vehicles and trailers, as well as distribution center space and equipment. We determine if an arrangement is a lease at inception by evaluating whether the arrangement conveys the right to use an identified asset and whether we obtain substantially all of the economic benefits from and have the ability to direct the use of the asset. Leases with an initial term of 12 months or less are not recorded on the consolidated balance sheets. We recognize expense for these leases on a straight-line basis over the lease term. For leases with an initial term in excess of 12 months, operating lease right-of-use assets and operating lease liabilities are recognized based on the present value of the future lease payments
over the committed lease term at the lease commencement date.
As most of our leases do not provide an implicit rate, we use our incremental borrowing rate in determining the present value of future lease payments. Inputs to the calculation of our incremental borrowing rate include the valuations and yields of our outstanding senior notes and their credit spreads over comparable U.S. Treasury rates, adjusted to a collateralized basis by estimating the credit spread improvement that would result from an upgrade of one ratings classification. Most leases include one or more options to renew and the exercise of renewal options is at our sole discretion. We do not include renewal options in our determination of the lease term unless the renewals are deemed to be reasonably certain. Operating lease expense for lease payments not yet paid is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term. The operating lease right-of-use asset is reduced by lease incentives, which has the effect of lowering the operating lease expense. Operating lease right-of-use assets are periodically reviewed for impairment losses. We use the long-lived assets impairment guidance in ASC Subtopic 360-10, “Property, Plant, and Equipment - Overall,” to determine whether a right-of-use asset is impaired, and if so, the amount of the impairment loss to recognize.
We have real estate leases that typically include payments related to non-lease components, such as common area maintenance, as well as payments for real estate taxes and insurance which are not considered components of the lease. These payments are generally variable and based on actual costs incurred by the lessor. These costs are expensed as incurred as variable lease costs and excluded for the purpose of calculating the right-of-use asset and lease liability. A smaller number of real estate leases contain fixed payments for common area maintenance, real estate taxes and insurance. These fixed payments are considered part of the lease payment and included in the right-of-use asset and lease liability. In addition, certain of our lease agreements include rental payments based on a percentage of retail sales over contractual levels and others include rental payments adjusted periodically for inflation. These payments are expensed as incurred as variable lease costs. Our lease agreements do not contain any material residual value guarantees or material restrictive financial covenants.
Purchased leases with terms which were either favorable or unfavorable as compared to prevailing market rates at the date of acquisition are amortized over the remaining lease terms, including, in some cases, an assumed renewal. Amortization expense, net of $48.1 million, $52.9 million and $65.4 million was recognized in “Selling, general and administrative expenses” in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively, related to these lease rights.
Impairment of Long-Lived Assets and Long-Lived Assets to be Disposed of
We review our long-lived assets and certain identifiable intangible assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. Recoverability of assets to be held and used is measured by comparing the carrying amount of an asset to future net undiscounted cash flows expected to be generated by the asset. If such assets are considered to be impaired, the impairment to be recognized is measured as the amount by which the carrying amount of the assets exceeds the fair value of the assets based on discounted cash flows or other readily available evidence of fair value, if any. Assets to be disposed of are reported at the lower of the carrying amount or fair value less costs to sell. In fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018, we recorded charges of $4.6 million, $9.1 million and $13.0 million, respectively, to write down certain assets, including $3.8 million and $8.5 million in fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019, respectively, to write down Operating lease right-of-use assets. These charges are recorded as a component of “Selling, general and administrative expenses” in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations.
Goodwill and Nonamortizing Intangible Assets
Goodwill and nonamortizing intangible assets, including the Family Dollar trade name, are not amortized, but rather tested for impairment at least annually. In addition, goodwill and nonamortizing intangible assets will be tested on an interim basis if an event or circumstance indicates that it is more likely than not that an impairment loss has been incurred.
We perform a qualitative assessment to determine whether it is more likely than not that the Family Dollar trade name is impaired. If we determine that it is more likely than not that an impairment exists, we evaluate the Family Dollar trade name for impairment by comparing its fair value, based on an income approach using the relief-from-royalty method, to its carrying value. If the carrying value of the asset exceeds its estimated fair value, an impairment loss is recognized in an amount equal to that excess.
Subsequent to the evaluation of the Family Dollar trade name for impairment, we perform a goodwill impairment evaluation. In the event that a qualitative assessment of the fair value of a reporting unit indicates it is more likely than not that the fair value is less than the carrying amount, we then estimate the fair value of the reporting unit using a combination of a market multiple method and a discounted cash flow method. We recognize goodwill impairment for the amount by which the reporting unit’s carrying amount exceeds its estimated fair value, not to exceed the total carrying amount of goodwill allocated to the reporting unit.
Our reporting units are determined in accordance with the provisions of ASC Topic 350, “Intangibles - Goodwill and Other.” We perform our annual impairment testing of goodwill and nonamortizing intangible assets during the fourth quarter of each year. Refer to Note 3 for additional information on the results of the impairment tests.
Revenue Recognition
We recognize sales revenue, net of estimated returns and sales tax, at the time the customer tenders payment for and takes control of the merchandise.
Taxes Collected
We report taxes assessed by a governmental authority that are directly imposed on revenue-producing transactions (i.e., sales tax) on a net (excluded from revenue) basis.
Cost of Sales
We include the cost of merchandise, warehousing and distribution costs, and certain occupancy costs in cost of sales.
Vendor Allowances
We receive vendor support in the form of cash payments or allowances through a variety of reimbursements such as purchase discounts, cooperative advertising, markdowns, scandowns and volume rebates. We have agreements with vendors setting forth the specific conditions for each allowance or payment. We either recognize the allowance as a reduction of current costs or defer the payment over the period the related merchandise is sold. If the payment is a reimbursement for costs incurred, it is offset against those related costs; otherwise, it is treated as a reduction to the cost of merchandise.
Pre-Opening Costs
We expense pre-opening costs for new, expanded, relocated and re-bannered stores and for distribution centers, as incurred.
Advertising Costs
We expense advertising costs as they are incurred and they are included in “Selling, general and administrative expenses” within the accompanying consolidated statements of operations. Advertising costs, net of co-op recoveries from vendors, were $80.8 million, $102.9 million and $99.9 million in fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Income Taxes
Income taxes are accounted for under the asset and liability method. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax rates is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date of such change.
We recognize a financial statement benefit for a tax position if we determine that it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained upon examination.
We include interest and penalties in the provision for income tax expense and income taxes payable. We do not provide for any penalties associated with tax contingencies unless they are considered probable of assessment.
Stock-Based Compensation
We recognize expense for all share-based payments to employees and non-employee directors based on their fair values. Total stock-based compensation expense for 2020, 2019 and 2018 was $83.9 million, $61.4 million and $63.3 million, respectively.
We recognize expense related to the fair value of restricted stock units (RSUs) and stock options over the requisite service period on a straight-line basis or a shorter period based on the retirement eligibility of the grantee. The fair value of RSUs is determined using the closing price of our common stock on the date of grant. The fair value of stock option grants is estimated on the date of grant using the Black-Scholes option pricing model. We account for forfeitures when they occur.
Net Income (Loss) Per Share
Basic net income (loss) per share has been computed by dividing net income (loss) by the weighted average number of shares outstanding. Diluted net income (loss) per share reflects the potential dilution that could occur assuming the inclusion of dilutive potential shares and has been computed by dividing net income (loss) by the weighted average number of shares and dilutive potential shares outstanding. Dilutive potential shares include all outstanding stock options and unvested RSUs after applying the treasury stock method.