Mixed Results at Dollar Stores

99 Cents Only reports a same-store sales decline.
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Two "dollar store" retail chains reported mixed second-quarter sales results Friday.

Dollar Tree Stores

(DLTR) - Get Report

reaffirmed its forecast for the quarter, expecting total sales between $755 million and $770 million. The company was silent about earnings. Wall Street expects the company to turn a profit of 25 cents a share in the quarter, down a penny from last year.

Shares of the retailer were recently up 13 cents, or 0.5%, to $24.

Separately, the early Easter holiday and weak store traffic caused an unexpected drop in same-store sales at

99 Cents Only Stores


in its second quarter, the discounter reported Friday.

The retailer said its sales at stores open at least a year declined 2.9% for the quarter. Wall Street was expecting a small gain after same-store sales rose 3% last year.

"Our second-quarter same-store sales were negatively impacted by several factors, including the Easter selling season occurring in the first quarter of 2005 vs. in the second quarter of 2004, operational issues and by a decline in the Texas comparable-store sales exceeding the average decline of comp sales for all stores," chief executive Eric Schiffer said in a statement.

Despite the news, 99 Cents Only Stores did not lower guidance for its second-quarter earnings. In fact, it has yet to report results for its first quarter, after delaying its fourth-quarter results so auditors can factor in lease accounting methods.

The company has seen some upheaval of late. Its chief financial officer and two company directors resigned in March. Fourth-quarter profit in 2004 slid 43% from a year earlier, hurt by slow sales in Texas and a large payment for a workers' compensation reserve.

Meanwhile, it has repeated its intention to restate financial results for 2002, 2003, and the first three quarters of 2004 to correct its accounting for operating lease rent holidays. The company has said its results would likely improve due to the restatements.

For its first quarter earnings in 2005, analysts expect 99 Cents Only Stores to report earnings of 11 cents a share, according to consensus estimates reported by Thomson First Call. That would mark a decline from last year's first-quarter earnings of 18 cents a share.

For the second quarter, analysts expect the retailer's earnings to increase to 7 cents a share from last year's 4 cents a share.

Its shares were recently down 25 cents, or 2%, to $11.95.