Family Dollar profit hit by focus on everyday items


Family Dollar Stores Inc posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as its emphasis on selling more everyday items such as cigarettes and soft drinks put pressure on margins.

The company also said that December sales, which came in after the quarter ended, were hurt as shoppers cut back on discretionary spending.

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The discount chain added cigarettes and other tobacco products, Pepsi drinks, gift cards, magazines and some other goods to its assortment in recent months in an attempt to better compete against chains such as Dollar General Corp.

Its profit was $80.3 million, or 69 cents a share, in the fiscal first-quarter that ended Nov. 24, compared with a profit of $80.4 percent, or 68 cents, a year earlier.

Analysts on average forecast 75 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 12.7 percent to $2.42 billion. Analysts on average forecast $2.38 billion.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 6.6 percent. The company had forecast an increase of 4 percent to 6 percent.

But in December, same-store sales rose only 2.5 percent

Sales of "consumables" such as food and beauty products - by far the chain's largest category - rose 18.5 percent in the first quarter, the company said.

For the year, Family Dollar said it expects earnings of $3.95 to $4.20. Analysts on average forecast $4.24 a share.