UPDATE 2-Dollar Tree gives strong profit view for holiday quarter

Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:50am EST

* Quarterly profit of 51 cents a share beats analysts' view

* Holiday-quarter forecast above most analysts' estimates

* Shares up 4.3 percent

Nov 15 (Reuters) - Dollar Tree Inc reported a higher quarterly profit on Thursday as it controlled costs, and the retailer forecast holiday-quarter earnings above most analysts' estimates.

Shares of Dollar Tree, which sells items for $1 or less at its namesake chain and at a variety of prices at its smaller Deal$ chain, rose more than 4 percent.

Dollar Tree said it expected earnings of 97 cents to $1.02 a share for this quarter. Analysts on average had forecast 97 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company gave a sales outlook of $2.2 billion to $2.26 billion for the quarter, largely in line with Wall Street expectations. It expects sales at stores open at least a year to be flat to up by a low single-digit percentage rate.

During the third quarter ended on Oct. 27, selling and general expenses as a percentage of sales fell 0.6 points to 24.2 percent, helping Dollar Tree overcome disappointing same-store sales and report a stronger-than-expected profit.

Sales rose 7.8 percent to $1.72 billion. Same-store sales increased 1.6 percent, below the 2.4 percent gain that analysts expected.

But Dollar Tree said sales at its newer stores were unusually strong.

In October, Dollar Tree said sales could suffer because of higher gasoline prices and consumers' caution about spending.

The company said it had earned $155.4 million, or 68 cents per share in the third quarter, up from $104.5 million, or 43 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding a one-time benefit from the sale of a stake in discount retailer Ollie's Holdings, Dollar Tree earned 51 cents a share, or 2 cents more than analysts expected.

The company's shares were up 4.3 percent at $39.38 in early trading.

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