Family Dollar sees a blue Christmas

Matthews, NC — Mired in a softer-than-expected holiday season, Family Dollar Stores today lowered its expectations for the five-week period ending Jan. 3, 2004. The company now expects sales in existing stores to increase from 0 percent to 2 percent vs. last year’s period. It had previously predicted sales would rise from 2 percent to 4 percent.

In its first quarter financial report today, the company also noted that its low to low-middle income customers usually buy trim-a-tree, giftware and other seasonal merchandise late in the holiday season, making it difficult to estimate sales.

“When consumers begin to focus again on basic consumable merchandise in January and February, as opposed to the focus on seasonal goods in November and December, the company believes that with its everyday low pricing policy, sales will rebound to levels that generally were achieved prior to the holiday selling season,” Family Dollar said in a statement.

The retailer expects sales in existing stores to increase by 2004 to increase in the 3 percent to 5 percent in both January and February.

The slackening pace follows what had been a healthy first quarter, with sales for the period ended Nov. 29 up 12.3 percent to $1.24 billion and profit up 12.2 percent to $64.5 million.

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