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Sales and Earnings Up at 99 Cents Stores

Revenue grew 20% at the discount retailing chain.

Strong revenue gains in the first quarter helped boost the bottom line at 99 Cents Only Stores


, the company reported on Tuesday.

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The discount retail chain earned $14.6 million, or 20 cents a share, inthe first quarter. That was up from the year-ago period, when 99 Centsearned $12.5 million, or 18 cents a share.

Compared with the first quarter of 2002, 99 Cents grew its revenue 20.4%to $196.4 million on strong sales in its core, eponymous stores.

The results met analysts' expectations, according to ThomsonFinancial/First Call. Wall Street had been expecting 99 Cents to earn 20cents a share on $193.2 million in sales.

The City of Commerce, Calif.-based company said it expects its earningsto grow 20% this year.