Dollar General (NYSE:DG), fresh off alleged accounting improprieties and a multimillion-dollar fine, reported first-quarter results that were in line with expectations. The company earned $0.20 per share, as anticipated by analysts, which was $0.02 better than last year.

Dollar General's net sales were up a healthy 11.4%, with sales open at least a year showing a 3% increase. The company produced an improved gross margin, which in its release it credited to a "higher average markup on beginning inventories that was partially offset by increased markdowns." Yes, that sounds like a contradiction, but the markdowns occurred after the products were in the stores for a while.

While I agree with the comments in our Foolish 99 Cents Off story (about Dollar General competitor 99 Cents Only (NYSE:NDN)) about the negative impact of an improving economy on discount retailers, I also think that tighter consumer spending would lead to better results for these companies. With many consumers' discretionary income being squeezed by rising gas and food prices (as I previously reported), discount retailers are benefiting somewhat from their minimal price-point competitive advantage. My wife, for example, absolutely loves all of these dollar stores and often comes home with a huge bag of stuff for less than a 20 spot.

Dollar General has taken recent strides to improve the investment community's opinion of its prospects. Not only has it swept a potentially crippling accounting scandal under the rug, but it has also hired a new chief financial officer, formerly of Haggar (NASDAQ:HGGR), who will wear the company's financial pants going forward.

Even though the company has been going through some positive changes, the impact of these moves might not be material enough in the near term to push the shares forward. After all, there are just so many stickers and coloring books my wife can buy for our kids each quarter.

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Fool contributor Phil Wohl spent over 12 years on Wall Street and now concentrates his writing on more fictional characters. He has no stake in any firm mentioned above.