Dollar Tree quarterly profit rises 11 percent

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dollar Tree Inc DLTR.O said on Wednesday its quarterly profit rose a higher-than-expected 11 percent as shoppers sought its low prices.

As the U.S. economy weakens and job losses rise, Dollar Tree has said customers are “trading down” from other retailers to its stores in search of bargains on everything from beauty supplies to seasonal merchandise, like Christmas decorations.

The company, which sells most of its merchandise for $1, said profit was $105.2 million, or $1.15 per share, for its fiscal fourth quarter ending Jan 31, compared with $94.7 million, or $1.04 per share, a year ago.

Analysts, on average, had been expecting it to earn $1.13 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Earlier this month, Dollar Tree said its quarterly sales rose almost 7 percent to $1.39 billion, while sales at its stores open at least a year, or same-store sales, increased 2.2 percent.

It also said its earnings per share for the quarter would be above the middle of its forecast of $1.07 to $1.15.

For its first quarter, Dollar Tree, which operates 3,591 stores, expects sales of $1.13 billion to $1.16 billion, a low-to mid-single digit rise in same-store sales, and earnings per share of 49 cents to 54 cents.

Analysts, on average, are expecting sales of $1.139 billion and earnings of 52 cents per share.

For the full year, it expects sales of $4.96 billion to $5.09 billion, a low to low-mid single digit gain in same-store sales, and earnings per share of $2.55 to $2.75. It said the forecast assumes it does not buy back any shares in the year.

Analysts expect sales of $4.99 billion on earnings of $2.71 per share.

Shares of the company fell 1.6 percent in premarket trading.

Reporting by Nicole Maestri; Editing by Derek Caney, Dave Zimmerman