May 22--Dollar Tree Inc. likely regained some Wall Street confidence today, announcing that its first-quarter earnings per share grew 13.6 percent to 67 cents, beating analysts' expectations by a penny.
Dollar Tree's profit increased 3.6 percent to $138.3 million in the quarter. In a Thomson Reuters survey, 23 analysts forecast that the retailer's earning per share would reach 66 cents.
Sales for the first quarter, ended May 3, hit $2 billion, a 7.2 percent boost from the same period in 2013. In comparable stores, those open at least 12 months, sales inched up 2 percent.
Bob Sasser, the retailer's CEO, said its stores saw more shoppers who spent more than in the same quarter last year. Sales of "discretionary" products, which garner a greater profit margin, grew faster than the groceries and other household basics that had driven Dollar Tree's business during and since the economic downturn.
"Leading categories during the quarter included candy, check-out products, stationery and seasonal merchandise for Valentine's and Easter," Sasser said.
Based in Chesapeake, Dollar Tree owns the nation's largest chain selling everything for $1 or less. It had 5,080 stores at the end of the quarter.
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