GOODLETTSVILLE, TENN. — Executives with Dollar General Corp. are upbeat about the retailer’s efforts to expand in the food and beverage category, including recent expansion in the cooler case and early returns from an initiative to provide healthier food options.

Speaking with analysts during a Dec. 4 conference call, Todd J. Vasos, chief executive officer of Dollar General, said the retailer’s “Better-For-You” initiative that launched a few months ago has performed well above initial goals. The initiative includes fresh produce as well as healthier snacks.

“We launched ‘Better-For-You’ just a few months ago in response to feedback from our customers who are starting to look for healthier food options at affordable prices,” Mr. Vasos said. “We are very pleased to be able to provide these product options to our customers at attractive price points that fit their budget. Currently, we have approximately 2,700 stores that are carrying a great selection of ‘Better-For-You’ products, including several items under our Good & Smart private brand. In fact, over the last four-week period of the third quarter, half of our top 10 unit movers within ‘Better-For-You’ were Good & Smart branded items. We believe that the ‘Better-For-You’ products appeal broadly to our customers and that we can roll out this offering to additional stores in 2019.”

Mr. Vasos also said Dollar General’s cooler expansion continues to be an important sales initiative, particularly in established stores.

 “The team has done a fantastic job increasing the average number of cooler doors across the chain, and we are seeing a great return on this investment,” he said. “As of the end of the third quarter, we have installed more than 20,000 cooler doors across our mature store base in fiscal 2018. Based on the success of this initiative, we anticipate continuing our cooler expansion efforts in 2019.”

Net income at Dollar General in the third quarter ended Nov. 2 totaled $334,142,000, equal to $1.26 per share on the common stock, up 32% from $252,533,000, or 93c per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Net sales increased nearly 9% to $6,417,462,000 from $5,903,606,000 a year ago.

Net sales in the company’s Consumables category increased 9% to $5,058,839,000 from $4,625,401,000.