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Shares of Tractor Supply are set to hit an all-time high Wednesday after the retailer’s executives said same-store sales for the second quarter are on track to rise more than 20 percent and that gross margins are rising.
 
Tractor Supply President and CEO Hal Lawton said late Tuesday that the company’s investments in technology and services before and during the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic — which has seen many consumers pay more attention to their houses and properties — have set it up to grow its market share.
 
Total sales are forecast to grow between 24 percent and 29 percent from the same period of 2019 while earnings per diluted share are expected to come in between $2.45 and $2.65 versus 71 cents in the first quarter and $1.80 in last year’s second quarter.
 
Shares of Tractor Supply (Ticker: TSCO) were up more than 7 percent to $119.70 in after-hours trading Tuesday. Their regular-session 52-week high is $114.25.
 
“We have a unique opportunity to grow our business as we roll out new technology and services while capitalizing on our product categories and convenient shopping format,” Lawton said in a statement. “Continuing to build our relationships across our customer base is a top priority for us as we are growing share with existing and new customers, while also re-engaging lapsed customers.”
 
Lawton and his team have hired more than 4,000 employees since early April — the company finished 2019 with 32,000 people on its payroll, split evenly between full- and part-timers — and are beefing up their investments in personnel. Brentwood-based Tractor will spend about $30 million on bonuses from March 16 to June 27 and on Tuesday said it will continue to pay its store workers an extra $2 per hour through the end of June before rolling out a wage increase of at least $1 per hour across its nearly 2,100 stores and eight distribution centers.
 
More than 2,000 managers also will receive restricted stock units and part-time workers will have access to a new benefit package. In all, these initiatives will cost Tractor Supply about $55 million more per year.
 
This post originally appeared in our sister publication, the Nashville Post. 

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