NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Family Dollar ( FDO) predicts first-quarter earnings of between 55 cents and 60 cents after reporting consensus-beating fourth-quarter earnings.

In the year-earlier first quarter, Family Dollar earned 49 cents a share.

Family Dollar expects first-quarter comparable-store sales of between 5% and 7%.

Analysts expect the discount retailer to earn 57 cents a share in the first quarter.

Family Dollar said fourth-quarter net income rose 23% to $74 million, or 56 cents a share, from $60.1 million, or 43 cents, a year earlier.

Fourth-quarter net sales were $1.96 billion, 8% above sales of $1.81 billion the previous year. Comparable-store sales increased 6.1%. Sales in the quarter were strongest in the consumables category.

The consensus estimate for the quarter was earnings of 51 cents a share on revenue of $1.96 billion.

The company also said it planned to purchase $750 million of its common stock.

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-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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