Family Dollar takes steps to improve sagging sales

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Family Dollar Stores reported April 10 that for the second quarter of fiscal 2014 ended March 1, net sales were $2.7 billion as compared with $2.9 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2013. The company also announced that it will close 370 underperforming stores. The company owns and operates more than 8,000 stores across the U.S., including the Family Dollar store in Wellington.

“Our second quarter results did not meet our expectations,” chairman and CEO Howard R. Levine said in a release. “The 2013 holiday season was challenged by a more promotional competitive environment and a more financially constrained consumer. In addition, like many retailers, our second quarter results were significantly impacted by severe winter weather, which resulted in numerous store closings, disrupted merchandise deliveries and higher than expected utility and store maintenance expenses.”

During the first half of fiscal 2014, the Company opened 244 new stores, closed 22 stores and renovated, relocated or expanded 319 stores.

The company announced several initiatives to improve the bottom line:

• Lowering prices on nearly 1,000 basic items.
• Reducing corporate overhead and re-aligning key organizational functions to improve execution and reinforce the company’s commitment to being a low-cost retailer.
• Closing approximately 370 underperforming stores in the second half of fiscal 2014.
• Slowing new-store growth beginning in fiscal 2015. The company now plans to open 350-400 new stores in fiscal 2015, down from approximately 525 new stores in fiscal 2014.

“Our mission is to deliver compelling, everyday values for our customers, and executing on this promise requires an unwavering commitment to being a low-cost operator. We are taking a number of important steps through our immediate strategic actions to improve our operational efficiency and deliver better financial returns,” said Levine. “Family Dollar has ample opportunities for growth. As the environment remains challenging, we are adjusting our growth plans to ensure that we are allocating resources to initiatives with the highest potential for value creation. We are confident that these steps will position the company better, enable us to improve our execution, and deliver higher shareholder returns.”