Discount retailer Family Dollar ( FDO) notched a $21 million gain in profit for the fiscal second quarter, as recession-strapped consumers continue to hunt for bargains.

Profit rose to $84.1 million, or 60 cents per share, from $63.3 million, or 45 cents per share, in the same period last year. Sales rose to $1.99 billion from $1.83 billion, boosted by demand for consumables. Same-store sales rose 6.4%.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast EPS of 60 cents on revenue of $1.98 billion.

"In today's challenging economic environment, families of all incomes are looking for ways to save money," said Howard R. Levine, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our strategy of providing both value and convenience continues to resonate well with consumers, and, as a result, we continue to capture more shopping trips and gain market share.

For the fiscal year ending Aug. 29, 2009, the Charlotte, N.C.-based company expects net sales will increase between 5% and 7% and comp-store sales will increase between 3% and 5%. The company expects earnings per diluted share will be between $1.90 and $2 in fiscal 2009 as compared with $1.66 in fiscal 2008.

For the third quarter of fiscal 2009 ending May 30, the company expects net sales will increase between 7% and 9% and expects comparable store sales will increase 5% to 7%. Family Dollar expects earnings per diluted share will be between 54 cents and 58 cents as compared with 46 cents in the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

"While the current environment has resulted in more budget-minded consumers, our strong performance is also the result of significant investments we have made to enhance the Family Dollar shopping experience," he said.

"Our multi-year focus on building and retaining great employee teams, improving merchandise quality, and enhancing the shopability of our stores has positioned us well to serve our core customers better while also satisfying new customers who may be visiting our stores for the first time."
Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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