Dollar General Corp. shares /zigman2/quotes/200691429/composite DG -3.15% rose 1.1% in premarket trade Thursday, after the retailer's first-quarter earnings blew past estimates amid strong demand during the coronavirus pandemic. The Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based discount store chain said it had net income of $650 million, or $2.56 a share, in the quarter, up from $385 million, or $1.48 a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales rose 27.6% to $8.4 billion from $6.6 billion. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $1.75 and sales of $7.6 billion. Same-store sales rose 21.7%, well ahead of the 8.7% FactSet consensus. "Same-store sales increased in each of the consumables, seasonal, home products and apparel categories, with the largest percentage increase in the home products category," the company said in a statement. "The company believes consumer behavior driven by COVID-19 had a significant positive effect on net sales and same-store sales." Dollar General has paid about $60 million in bonuses to front-line workers, and temporarily adjusted benefits and leave politics to give workers paid time off if they need to care for a loved one with the virus. It has provided masks, gloves and other protective equipment to workers and implemented social-distancing measures inside stores and distribution centers. To enhance its liquidity position, the company issued $1.0 billion of 3.5% senior notes due in 2030 and $500 million of 4.125% senior notes due in 2050. As of May 1, it had $2.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents as well as $1.1 billion of availability under a revolving credit facility. The company said it is still seeing elevated demand in the current quarter, but withdrew full-year guidance because of the uncertainty created by the pandemic. Shares have gained 20% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -2.57% has fallen 6%.