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Family Dollar's home department faring well

New York -- Family Dollar's home department has "hung in there pretty good" in recent quarters, chairman and ceo Howard Levine told investors this morning.

Addressing the Barclays Capital Retail and Restaurants Conference here, Levine said: "We've done a very good job figuring out the role home plays in a dollar store."

The 6,600-store extreme value retailer last year edited the home department as part of its strategy to expand its food and consumables businesses.

Traffic and ticket size are continuing to increase -- both among Family Dollar's core low-income shoppers as well as middle income shoppers. The company's average transaction is $9.70.

Family Dollar research shows that its customers are also Walmart's customer, but Family Dollar attracts shoppers when they want to do a quick fill-in trip rather than a big  visit to stock up. "We don't charge a premium with that convenience," said Levine.

Asked about the competitive landscape, Levine said pricing has been "rational," adding: "So there's been no need to do some of the crazy things some of the higher income retailers have had to do."

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