CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Dollar Tree here on Thursday posted third-quarter sales and earnings figures that fell below analyst expectations, citing “a very difficult environment” for shoppers and higher than expected expenses.


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The discounter reported sales of $1.9 billion for the period ending Nov. 2 — a 9.5% increase for the same period last year, but below consensus estimates of 10.8%. Comparable-store sales of 3.1% were lower than 4.5% comps analysts expected.

Net earnings of $125.4 million were down 19% from the same period last year, when Dollar Tree realized the benefit the sale of the Ollie’s division. Earnings were impacted by higher expenses for health insurance and credit fees, Bob Sasser, Dollar Tree’s chief executive officer, said in a conference call.

Sasser was upbeat overall, emphasizing that Dollar Tree saw increases in traffic and revenues, and record earnings despite low consumer confidence sparked by higher taxes on the middle class and the reduction of SNAP benefits affecting low-income shoppers.

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