US discount retailer Family Dollar Stores today (8 April) upped its annual profit forecast for the second time this year as shoppers continued to flock to its stores.

The company, which saw second-quarter net income jump by a third in the three months to the end of February, raised its outlook for earnings per share and for sales for fiscal 2009.

In January, Family Dollar predicted a 4-6% rise in sales and 2-4% increase in comparable-store sales for the year to 29 August. The retailer also set an earnings per share forecast of $1.63-1.81 for the year.

Today, Family Dollar said it now expects net sales to rise by 5-7% during the fiscal year, with comparable-store sales up 3-5%. The retailer also laid out a forecast of annual earnings per share of $1.90-2.00.

Chairman and CEO Howard Levine said Family Dollar's "value and convenience" had attracted rising traffic levels.

Levine insisted, however, that Family Dollar had made "significant investments" to "enhance the shopping experience" in its stores.

Levine said: "We have made significant progress to improve our relevancy to the customer, and we will continue to invest to make Family Dollar a more compelling place to shop, work and invest."

Net income was up 32.9% to $84.1m in the three months to 28 February. Sales rose 8.7% to $1.99bn. Comparable-store sales rose 6.4%.