Our financial strength and flexibility give us great confidence. Our strong financial returns and cash generation have allowed us to simultaneously invest in the growth of the business and return cash to shareholders. Our disciplined approach to capital allocation resulted in a strong return on invested capital in 2018 that was one of the highest we have seen in the retail industry.1 Our “A+” S&P Global rating is one of the strongest in retail, and we believe it is an important metric for our vendors, landlords, and other business associates. In 2018, we generated $4.1 billion in cash from operations and increased our shareholder distributions. We spent a total of $2.5 billion to repurchase stock, retiring 51.8 million shares, and increased the per-share dividend by 25%, marking our 22nd straight year of dividend increases.
We remain committed to maintaining our strong credit rating and continuing our dividend and share buyback programs. In April 2019, our Board of Directors approved an 18% increase in the current per-share dividend, which represents the 23rd consecutive year of dividend increases. Over this period of time, our Company’s dividend has risen at a compound annual rate of 22%. Further, in 2019, we expect to continue our significant share buyback program, with approximately $1.75 to $2.25 billion of repurchases planned for the year. These actions underscore our confidence in our ability to continue delivering strong, profitable sales and cash flows, and generate superior financial returns.
1See reconciliation on our Reconciliation of Financials page.