RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Dollar Tree Inc. said Thursday its first-quarter net income rose nearly 4 percent as shoppers spent more at its discount stores.
The company's results beat Wall Street expectations, and its shares rose more than 8 percent in morning trading.
The company, based in Chesapeake, Virginia, said earnings totaled $138.3 million, or 67 cents per share, in the quarter that ended May 3, up from $133.5 million, or 59 cents per share, a year ago.
That edged out analyst expectations by a penny, according to a poll by FactSet.
Dollar Tree saw revenue increase more than 7 percent to $2 billion. Analysts expected $2.01 billion.
Its shares rose $4.07 to $54.07 in morning trading.
Sales at established stores rose 2 percent. That comparison is a key gauge of a retailer's health. It excludes the volatility associated with stores that recently opened or closed.
The top-performing categories during the quarter included candy, products at the checkout counter, stationery and seasonal merchandise for Valentine's Day and Easter, the company said.
Dollar stores offer a wide variety of products, from beach toys to vitamins. They have done well throughout the recession and its aftermath, attracting budget-conscious customers. They've also promoted themselves as easy to navigate and get to, because they're much smaller than big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Target, and often have more locations in cities.
Dollar Tree expects a full-year 2014 profit of $2.94 to $3.12 per share on revenue between $8.37 billion and $8.54 billion. Analysts expect earnings of $3.13 on revenue of $8.51 billion.
Dollar Tree operates more than 5,080 stores in the U.S. and Canada. During the first quarter, the company opened 94 stores, closed six and expanded or moved 28 stores.
Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum .