Per-share earnings rose 27.8% at Dollar Tree (DLTR) - Get Report in the fourth quarter on solid sales growth.

The deep discounter earned $79.83 million, or 69 cents a share, in the quarter, compared to $61.62 million, or 54 cents a share, a year ago. Sales rose 14.7% year over year to $893.07 million.

Earnings matched Wall Street's estimates, while sales were a bit light. Analysts surveyed by Thomson One Analytics were expecting the company to earn 69 cents a share on $894.22 million in sales.

Dollar Tree forecast it will post $700 million to $720 million in sales in the first quarter and sales ranging from $3.2 billion to $3.3 billion for all of fiscal 2004. The company did not immediately provide earnings guidance.

Wall Street has projected that the retail chain will earn 33 cents a share on $715.83 million in sales in the first quarter. For 2004, analysts are expecting earnings of $1.54 per share on $3.25 billion in sales.

Dollar Tree's report came after the bell on Tuesday. In after-hours trading, the company's shares were down 30 cents, or 0.9%, to $31.94. Dollar Tree's stock closed regular trading on Tuesday off 4 cents, or 0.1%, to $32.24.