UPDATE 1-Dollarama profit rises 20 pct, but stock falls on miss

Thu Dec 5, 2013 10:16am EST
 
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(Updates with additional details and market reaction)

TORONTO Dec 5 (Reuters) - Dollarama Inc, a Canadian dollar-store operator, reported a 20 percent rise in profit on Thursday due to higher sales and new store openings, but results fell short of expectations, sending its stock lower.

Shares of Dollarama, which sells goods for up to C$3, were down 2.6 percent at C$84.87 shortly after the open on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Net income rose to C$61.7 million ($57.71 million), or 87 Canadian cents per share, for the quarter ended Nov. 3 from C$51.5 million, or 68 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

The Montreal-based discounter, which operates close to 850 stores across Canada, said overall sales climbed 14.2 percent to C$522.9 million. Sales at established stores, a key indicator for retailers, rose 4.8 percent.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 88 Canadian cents a share and revenue of C$526.3 million according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Peter Sklar, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets attributed the "very slight miss" partly to smaller-than-expected growth in sales to customers per visit.

Customers spent 2.9 percent more during each visit, lower than the 4.5 percent Sklar was expecting. Traffic climbed more than expected, however, up 1.9 percent from his estimate of 1.5 percent.

Expense margins improved 27 basis points, said Sklar, missing the 40 basis points improvement he was expecting.

($1 = 1.0691 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Solarina Ho in Toronto, with additional reporting by Ashutosh Pandey in Bangalore; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Chizu Nomiyama)