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Family Dollar makes strategic changes following disappointing Q2


Family Dollar plans to close 370 underperforming stores, cut jobs and lower prices on 1,000 basic items following a disappointing second quarter, which was adversely affected by the extra week in last year's quarter, severe weather, holiday promotions and a challenging consumer environment.

The company is also slowing its new store growth beginning in fiscal 2015 to bolster its return on investment. It now anticipates opening 350 to 400 new stores as opposed to approximately 525 stores in 2014.

Net income in the quarter ended March 1 fell 35% to $90.9 million from $140.1 million in the year-ago period. Net sales decreased 6.1% to $2.7 billion, from $2.9 billion. Same-store sales declined 3.8% as a result of decreased customer transactions, partially offset by an increase in the average customer transaction value.

“Our second quarter results did not meet our expectations,” said chairman and CEO Howard R. Levine. “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.”

The job cuts and store closures are expected to reduce annual operating costs by $40 million to $45 million beginning third quarter of fiscal 2014.

Looking ahead, the company expects to record an estimated $85 million to $95 million restructuring charge in the second half of fiscal 2014 related to the workforce reductions and store closures.

For the third quarter of fiscal 2014, Family Dollar expects that same-store sales will decline in the low-single-digit range and for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, the company expects that same-store sales will be flat to up slightly. Family Dollar also expects a low-single digit increase in net sales during the full fiscal year.

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