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Family Dollar Stores Q2 sales up 17.7%, but CEO expresses discretionary income concerns

BY Michael Johnsen

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar Stores on Thursday reported a net sales increase of 17.7% to $2.9 billion for the second quarter ended March 2. Comparable stores were up 2.9%.

An extra week in the quarter contributed approximately $189 million in sales. Strong growth in tobacco, food and HBA contributed to a 26.6% lift across consumables, the dollar operator reported. 

“Our continued market share gains reflect the successful execution of our strategy to become more relevant to customers,” stated Howard Levine, chairman and CEO. “This quarter we delivered positive results despite financial pressures that continue to challenge our customers," he said. 

Levine expressed concern around the discretionary dollars of the shoppers patronizing Family dollar. And the weak economy and a cold spring is still proving a challenge, Levine added. "Unfortunately, the unanticipated delay of the 2012 tax refunds impacted our results at the end of January and the beginning of February. We were happy to see sales trends improve towards the end of the quarter as our customers began to receive their tax refunds," he said. 

“Given this uncertainty, we have adjusted our plans to reflect lower than anticipated home and apparel sales as our customers’ discretionary spend is expected to remain constrained," Levine concluded.

Family Dollar shares were down 1.1% to $59.78 in late afternoon trading. 

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March sales down 2% across Fred’s Super Dollar

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s Super Dollar on Thursday reported total sales of $190.4 million for the five weeks ended April 6, down 2% from the comparable year-ago period. 

Comparable store sales for the month decreased 3% compared with flat store sales in the same period last year.

"We expected that March general merchandising sales would be adversely affected by unseasonably cool weather and the timing of the Easter holiday, both of which affected two of our key reconfiguration departments — lawn and garden and seasonal," stated Fred’s CEO Bruce Efird. "The pharmacy department continued to produce strong comparable script growth, but that was offset by the ongoing brand-to-generic shift, which resulted in lower overall pharmacy sales — a trend that we will see throughout most of the year," he added. "We are optimistic about April sales as the spring seasonal sales kick in and our operational expense initiatives take hold. All of these factors were anticipated as we developed our guidance for the first quarter."

 

 

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Kroger to assemble 17,000 food boxes with almost 5,000 associates for Louisville, Ky.

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Thursday announced plans to bring together more than 4,800 associates at the Kentucky Exposition Center on April 16 to assemble an estimated 17,000 emergency food and personal care boxes for the metro community of Louisville, Ky.

According to calculation tables established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the boxes will represent approximately 136,000 meals. Kroger also will be packing an estimated 8,500 family boxes containing shampoo, toothpaste, soap, laundry detergent, deodorant and other supplies. The collective retail value of these boxes will be more than $212,000.

The effort will represent the largest, one-day volunteer effort by a single company to support the Dare to Care Food Bank, Kroger’s local Feeding America partner.

The event will take place during the Louisville community’s second annual ‘Give A Day’ volunteer week of public service, April 13 to 21. In a recent press conference, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer cited Kroger’s planned efforts as playing a prominent role in helping break the community’s own 2012 "world record" of 90,000 volunteers and acts of compassion. The Kroger event alone will contribute an estimated 7,500 volunteer hours toward Fischer’s goal for 2013.

"Last year … Kroger delivered the largest contribution of food and funds in our company history — the equivalent of nearly 200 million meals — to Feeding America and its local food banks," stated Lynn Marmer, Kroger’s group VP corporate affairs. 

With a distribution network that includes more than 300 local food pantries, shelters and assistance organizations, Dare to Care Food Bank will be distributing the emergency food and personal care boxes to needy families throughout their 13-county metropolitan Louisville service area. 

"This incredible donation comes at a time when the demand for food assistance has never been higher," said Brian Riendeau, Dare to Care Food Bank’s executive director. 

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