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Tractor Supply 1Q profit rises 9 percent

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (AP) -- Tractor Supply Co., a retailer for farmers and ranchers, said Wednesday that its first-quarter profit rose 9 percent as it opened more stores and saw continued strong sales of products such as animal and pet food.

The company earned $44 million, or 62 cents per share, for the quarter that ended March 30. That was up from net income of $40.3 million, or 55 cents per share, during the quarter that ended March 31, 2012. Revenue rose 6 percent to $1.09 billion, from $1.02 billion a year earlier.

The profit matched the expectation of analysts surveyed by FactSet, although revenue fell just short.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 0.5 percent. The metric is a key one for retailers because it removes the impact of stores that have recently opened or closed.

Tractor Supply reiterated its projection for 2013 revenue of $5.07 billion to $5.17 billion, and net income of $4.32 to $4.40 per share. The projection includes costs of 6 to 7 cents per share for moving a distribution center and a data center.

Analysts were expecting revenue of $5.16 billion and earnings of $4.44 per share.

The company opened 22 new stores during the quarter and closed one, leaving it with 1,197 stores on March 30.

Its shares had risen 77 cents to close at $112.05 before the results were released. They fell 4.3 percent, or $4.78, to $107.27 in after-hours trading.