US discount retailer Dollar General has booked higher half-year profits after it increased sales.

Dollar General reported net income of US$427.6m for the six months to 3 August, up from $303m a year earlier. Operating income was $771.5m, compared to $671.6m a year ago. 

Net sales increased 11.7% to $7.85bn. Dollar General said same-store sales were up 5.9%.

Sales of consumables increased 12.8%, although gross profit as a percentage of sales dipped from 31.7% to 31.8%.

Chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling, reflecting the retailer’s 5.1% increase in second-quarter same-store sales, said the performance “demonstrates the ongoing execution of the initiatives around our key operating priorities and is evidence of our continued importance to our customers”.

In the quarter, Dollar General said the “most significant growth related to changes in and further expansion of the company’s candy and snacks and perishable foods”.

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The company today (5 September) announced it expects diluted earnings per share to be US$2.77-2.85, up from a previous forecast of $2.68-2.78. Dollar General said it incurred a tax benefit in the second quarter. It also announced a $500m share buyback.