Family Dollar reports higher profit

Family Dollar said Wednesday that its net income rose 26 percent in the fourth quarter as sales improved despite flat customer traffic.

The discount retailer’s average customer transaction and a key revenue metric were also flat. The company gave a cautious 2014 earnings forecast and a first-quarter earnings outlook that was below Wall Street’s average expectations.

Its shares fell more than 3 percent in premarket trading.

Family Dollar Stores Inc. earned $102.2 million, or 88 cents per share, for the period ended Aug. 31. That compares with $80.9 million, or 69 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

Excluding an accounting adjustment, earnings were 86 cents per share. This beat the 83 cents per share that analysts polled by FactSet expected.

Revenue for the Matthews, N.C.-based company rose 6 percent to $2.5 billion from $2.36 billion. Sales of consumables climbed 8.3 percent, helped by higher sales of refrigerated and frozen food, health aids and tobacco.

Wall Street forecast $2.56 billion in revenue.

Family Dollar operates stores throughout southwestern Ohio.