Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO)’s latest earnings report showed results that were just slightly ahead of estimates for earnings per share. Before opening bell this morning, the retail chain reported earnings per diluted share of $1.05 on net sales of $2.57 billion. Net sales for the quarter rose 9 percent year over year.

Family Dollar Stores FDO

Consensus Estimates For Family Dollar

Analysts had been expecting the company to report earnings per share of $1.03 on revenue of $2.57 billion for the quarter. Analyst estimates for the company’s most recently completed quarter fell from $1.19 per share.

Shares of the company’s stock jumped slightly before opening bell, rising as much as 2.81 percent as of this writing.

Family Dollar’s Sales Driven By Consumables

Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO) reported that comparable store sales rose 2.9 percent in the quarter. The company said on average, customers were spending more on each transaction and there was a greater volume of customer traffic in its stores during the quarter. The retail chain also said that sales were strongest in its Consumables category, which rose 14.8 percent during the quarter. The company reported especially strong growth in food, health and beauty and tobacco sales.

“”Our consumable sales remained strong and we continued to gain market share,” said Family Dollar Chairman and CEO Howard R. Levine in a statement. “However, our discretionary sales remained challenged as our customers have been forced to make spending choices between basic needs and wants. Consistent with market trends, we expect that our customers will continue to face financial headwinds.”

Levine went on to say that the company is adapting by focusing on stabilizing its gross margins and controlling expenses, as well as increasing operational efficiency. During the third fiscal quarter, Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO) opened 129 stores, shut down three stores and either renovated, expanded or relocated another 228 stores.

Family Dollar’s Guidance

The retail chain also provided some guidance for its fourth fiscal quarter. It expects to see continued pressure on discretionary items and a 2 percent increase in comparable store sales in the quarter. It guided for earnings per diluted share of between 82 cents and 87 cents, compared with 69 cents per share in the fourth fiscal quarter of last year. Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO) noted that in last year’s fourth quarter, it posted a litigation charge of 6 cents per share.

For the full fiscal year 2013, the company guided for earnings per share of between $3.77 and $3.82, compared with $3.58 per share in the previous fiscal year. This full year fiscal guidance is another reduction for the chain, which guided for between $3.73 per share and $3.93 per share at the end of the previous quarter and between $3.95 per share and $4.20 per share in the quarter before that.

Analyst estimates for Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO)’s full fiscal year were $3.77 per share, which is right in line with the company’s lowered guidance.