Family Dollar tops $1B in 4Q sales

Don Hogsett, October 7, 2002

Building sales at a double-digit pace as it rolled out new units and strengthens its hardlines business, Family Dollar Stores Inc. drove fourth-quarter profits up by 22.9 percent, to $41.9 million from $34.1 million last year.

Sales at the national chain of 4,615 neighborhood stores rose by 14.9 percent, to $1.1 billion from $920.8 million last year, stemming from continued rapid expansion and a 4.4 percent increase in same-store sales. During the fourth fiscal quarter ended on Aug. 31, the company opened 189 new stores, while closing four others.

Virtually all of the gains in same-store sales was due to strong growth in hardlines, which climbed by 7.4 percent, more than offsetting a decline of 5.1 percent in the retailer's softlines business.

Customer count during the fourth fiscal quarter moved up about 2.2 percent, the company said, while the average transaction increased about 2.1 percent, to $8.62.

Looking ahead, the retailer forecast same-store sales for the first fiscal quarter which ends Nov. 30 to rise in the range of 3 percent to 5 percent.

Assuming that the same-store sales forecast holds, and with the business generated from almost 600 new stores scheduled to be opened during the new fiscal year, Family Dollar is estimating earnings per share will climb by 14 percent to 16 percent during the 2003.

Howard Levine, president and ceo, commented, "In fiscal 2003, with expected capital expenditures of about $225 million, we plan to open approximately 575 new stores, expand or relocate 150 stores, open a seventh distribution center and continue to implement new supply chain systems. As was the case last fiscal year, we expect the difficult retail sales environment to continue and are planning seasonal and fashion purchases conservatively and closely monitoring expenses."

Family Dollar Stores Inc.

Qtr. 8/31 (x000) 2002 2001 % change
Sales $1,058,272 $920,809 14.9
Oper. income (EBIT) 65,975 53,738 22.8
Net income 41,894 34,100 22.9
Per share (diluted) 0.24 0.20 20.0
Average gross margin 32.3% 31.6%
SG&A expenses 26.0% 25.7%
12 months
Sales 4,162,652 3,665,362 13.6
Oper. income (EBIT) 341,621 298,422 14.5
Net income 216,929 189,505 14.5
Per share (diluted) 1.25 1.10 13.6
Average gross margin 33.5% 33.5%
SG&A expenses 25.3% 25.3%

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