Friday, October 1, 2010

Family Dollar Underscores Improving Retail Landscape

image It's been a good week of sorts for the retail industry after Wal-Mart (WMT) become the first major retail giant to jump in the African market with a $4 billion bid for South African wholesaler Massmart.

And now Family Dollar Stores (FDO) has forecast profits for the current fiscal year that are bound to beat the estimates of even the most skeptical of analysts. The forecast not only sent the shares up 1.6%, but also paved the way for the company to announce plans to open 300 new stores during fiscal 2011, up 50% from fiscal 2010. With retail giant Wall Mart looking at overseas destinations to churn out profits in a sluggish US economy, Family Dollar Stores, which prices most of its goods under $10, has attracted consumers struggling in a weak economy.

The company also posted a fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates and said it had authorized a new $750 million share repurchase plan while it's expecting to reap sales benefit of longer store hours, and an overhaul to give more room to fast-moving items like food introduced earlier in the year.

Retail analysts across the board have been impressed by the recent work-ethic of the company and are of the opinion that Family Dollar can continue to be dollar store of choice, given the significant opportunities the company has to narrow its productivity gap compared to rival Dollar General (DG).

Impressive Figures: Family Dollar forecast fiscal 2011 earnings of $2.95 to $3.15 a share on a same-store sales increase of 5% to 7%. Analysts on average forecast $2.96 a share. Net income in the June-August quarter was $74 million, or $0.56 a share, beating the analysts average level of $0.51 a share, compared with $60.1 million, or $0.43 a share, a year ago.

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