US discount retailer Family Dollar Stores today (5 January) lifted its full-year earnings target after recording an almost 7% rise in first-quarter sales.

The company expects its annual diluted earnings per share to hit between US$3.08 to $3.23, up from the forecast $2.95-3.15 target it set in September.

Family Dollar's comparable-store sales rose 6.9% during the first quarter of its fiscal year, a three-month period that lasted until 27 November.

The retailer's chairman and CEO Howard Levine revealed same-store sales in December increased 4% and said the company's performance over the first quarter and into December had led to the improved earnings target.

He added: "Our comparable-store sales increase of 6.9% is the best first-quarter result we've delivered in more than twelve years. Clearly, our investments to improve the shopping experience in our stores are positioning us well to serve a growing numbr of Family Dollar customers."

Family Dollar's net sales during the first quarter increased 9.5% to $2bn, leading to a 9.9% rise in net income to $74.3m.