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Trading Up Test at Family Dollar

Looking to attract customers at somewhat higher income brackets than its typically modest clientele, Family Dollar will roll out in January about 200 new stores featuring a more polished concept.

These 200 or so units, said chairman and ceo Howard Levine, will feature better fixtures and new signage, among other things. "They'll get the best we have to offer in this concept," he said during the company's presentation at the JPMorgan Consumer & Retail Conference last week.

The 6,300-unit deep discount chain is testing the prototype now – in both a low-income area and in a more moderate income region, as well.

"This is not something we can be too excited about yet, but what this tells you is how our management team is working to improve upon the shopping environment and shopability of our stores," he explained. "I think this [new store concept] is very compelling in a better income area. Everybody likes to get a good value on their merchandise…and this will compete nicely not just with other dollar stores but other convenience retailers."

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