CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Dollar Tree Stores here said sales of back-to-school and Halloween items helped lift sales by 9.6% and earnings by 19% during the fiscal third quarter that ended Nov. 3. But economic pressures could depress sales in the current quarter, the company added. In a conference call discussing results, Bob Sasser, president and chief executive officer, said the chain would rely on more frequent shopping trips driven by increased food offerings as it weathers effects of economic pressures on its shoppers. “We’re clearly feeling the results of the same macroeconomic pressures that have affected many retailers,” he said. “But with the expansion of everyday basics in our assortment, we’re better positioned than ever to withstand these pressures.” Sales improved 9.6% to $998 million for the quarter and same-store sales improved by 1.9%, mainly due to an increase store traffic, the retailer said. Earnings of $35.9 million improved from $32.5 million in the same period last year.
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