FAMILY DOLLAR REPORTS THIRD QUARTER 2014 FINANCIAL RESULTS

  •   Earnings Per Diluted Share of $0.71; Adjusted Diluted EPS of $0.85
  •   Comparable Store Sales Decreased 1.8%
  •   June Comparable Store Sales Approximately Flat
  •  Management Reaffirms Guidance for Fourth Quarter of Fiscal 2014

MATTHEWS, NC, July 10, 2014 - Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE: FDO) today reported that for the third quarter of fiscal 2014 ended May 31, 2014, net sales increased 3.3% to $2.66 billion. Net income per diluted share for the third quarter of fiscal 2014 was $0.71.  Adjusted third quarter fiscal 2014 net income per diluted share was $0.85 as compared to $1.05 in the third quarter of fiscal 2013. This year’s adjusted fiscal third quarter results exclude the negative impact on diluted net income per common share of $0.14 related to the Company’s restructuring initiatives as part of its previously announced strategic actions to strengthen its value proposition, increase operational efficiencies and improve financial performance. The tables included in this press release provide a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP measures.

“We are executing our previously announced restructuring initiatives to improve our performance,” said Howard R. Levine, Chairman and CEO.  “Our recent investment to permanently lower prices is resonating with customers; we are seeing savings from our workforce optimization efforts; and we are on track to close approximately 370 underperforming stores by the end of the fiscal year. We remain confident that these steps will position the Company to improve our financial performance and deliver higher long-term shareholder returns.”

Third Quarter Results

“Our results continue to reflect the economic challenges facing our core customer and an intense competitive environment,” continued Levine.  “We are pleased that our comparable store sales results in the third quarter in all four merchandise categories improved relative to our second quarter results.  Although our sales results remain below our expectations, we are encouraged by the improving trends.”

Net sales for the third quarter ended May 31, 2014, increased 3.3% to $2.66 billion from $2.57 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2013 ended June 1, 2013.  Comparable store sales for the 13-week period decreased 1.8% as a result of fewer customer transactions, partially offset by an increase in the average customer transaction value. Sales in the third quarter of fiscal 2014 were strongest in the Consumables category, driven primarily by strong growth in refrigerated/frozen food and tobacco.

Gross profit for the third quarter of fiscal 2014 was $910.9 million or 34.3% of net sales. During the quarter, the Company implemented a series of restructuring initiatives, including plans to close approximately 370 underperforming stores across the chain by the end of fiscal 2014. As a result, the Company incurred a $1.5 million inventory write-down in an effort to sell through merchandise at stores scheduled to close. 

Excluding the inventory write-down, adjusted third quarter fiscal 2014 gross profit increased 2.2% to $912.3 million, or 34.3% of net sales, compared to $892.5 million, or 34.7% of net sales, in the third quarter of fiscal 2013.  As a percentage of sales, the impact on gross profit of stronger sales of lower-margin consumables, lower markups and higher markdowns was partially offset by lower inventory shrinkage.

Selling, general and administrative expenses (“SG&A”), as a percentage of net sales, were 28.8% in the third quarter of fiscal 2014 compared to 27.4% in the third quarter of fiscal 2013.  Most expenses were deleveraged as a result of the decrease in comparable store sales. As a percentage of net sales, the impact on SG&A of higher store occupancy, labor and advertising costs was partially offset by lower incentive compensation expenses.

In the third quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company incurred a $23.0 million charge as part of its previously announced restructuring initiatives including planned store closures and workforce optimization. This restructuring charge consisted primarily of property and equipment impairments and termination benefits directly associated with the store closings and workforce optimization.

Operating profit in the third quarter of fiscal 2014 was $120.8 million.  As discussed above, the Company’s third quarter fiscal 2014 operating profit includes $24.5 million of charges related to the Company’s restructuring activities. Excluding the charges, adjusted third quarter fiscal 2014 operating profit was $145.3 million, or 5.5% of net sales, compared with $188.4 million, or 7.3% of net sales, in the third quarter of fiscal 2013.

The effective tax rate was 33.1% for the third quarter of fiscal 2014 compared with 36.2% for the third quarter of fiscal 2013. The effective tax rate was lower primarily due to foreign tax benefits associated with the Company’s global sourcing efforts and increased tax benefits associated with federal jobs tax credits.

Net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2014 was $81.1 million. Adjusted third quarter fiscal 2014 net income was $96.5 million as compared to $120.9 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2013.   

The Company’s merchandise inventories as of May 31, 2014, were $1.59 billion compared with $1.47 billion as of June 1, 2013.  Average inventory per store at the end of the quarter was 2.1% higher than the average inventory per store at the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2013. 

During the third quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company opened 111 new stores, closed 3 stores, and renovated, relocated or expanded 266 stores.

In the 39-week period ended May 31, 2014, capital expenditures were $307.2 million compared with $599.7 million in the 40-week period ended June 1, 2013. During the 39-week period, the Company spent $106.5 million related to new stores; $92.9 million on its store renovation program; $50.6 million on existing stores; $37.0 million related to corporate and technology investments; and $20.2 million on supply chain investments.

In the 39-week period ended May 31, 2014, the Company repurchased approximately 1.8 million shares of its common stock for a total cost of $125.0 million and paid $94.8 million in dividends to shareholders. As of May 31, 2014, the Company had authorization to purchase up to an additional $245.8 million of its common stock.

Strategic Plan Update

As part of its ongoing business review, the Company is taking deliberate actions to strengthen its value proposition, increase operational efficiencies and improve its financial performance. As previously announced, the Company has:

  • Lowered prices on nearly 1,000 basic items, investing more than $50 million, on an annualized basis, to deliver more compelling values to customers;
  • Reduced corporate overhead and re-aligned key organizational functions to improve execution and reinforce a commitment to being an efficient, low-cost retailer;
  • Launched a process to close approximately 370 underperforming stores in the second half of fiscal 2014; and
  •  Made plans to slow new store growth beginning in fiscal 2015. The Company now expects to open 350-400 new stores in fiscal 2015, down from approximately 525 new stores in fiscal 2014.

        In addition, the Company is investing in longer-term initiatives to drive more profitable growth.  These initiatives include:

  • Building on efforts to capture more food trips, the Company intends to further expand its cooler program beginning in fiscal 2015;
  • Continuing to expand traffic-driving categories with a multi-year rollout of beer and wine, beginning in fiscal 2015; and
  • Leveraging the scale and considerable diversity of the chain to launch a multi-year clustering initiative designed to enhance store productivity.  

      The Company’s in-depth business review remains on-going, and the Board and management team continue to evaluate additional opportunities to drive efficiency in stores, and further increase value and convenience for the customer. 

Outlook

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company expects that comparable store sales will be approximately flat and that earnings per diluted share will be between $0.75 and $0.85, excluding approximately $0.37 related to restructuring charges. Including the restructuring charges, the Company expects earnings per diluted share will be between $0.38 and $0.48.

For the 52-week year ending August 30, 2014, the Company expects that earnings per diluted share will be between $3.07 and $3.17, excluding approximately $0.51 per share related to restructuring charges. Including the restructuring charges, the Company expects earnings per diluted share will be between $2.56 and $2.66.

The Company's outlook for fiscal 2014 is based on the following assumptions which may or may not prove valid:

  • A low-single digit increase in net sales, excluding the impact of the extra week in fiscal 2013;
  • A low-single digit decline in comparable store sales;
  • Approximately 525 new store openings and approximately 400 store closings;
  • A decline in gross profit, as a percentage of sales;
  • SG&A expense de-leverage based on our comparable store sales outlook;
  • An effective income tax rate between 34.5% and 35.0%; and
  • Capital expenditures of between $450 million and $500 million

Cautionary Statements

Certain statements contained in this press release are “forward-looking statements” that are subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements address certain plans, activities or events which the Company expects will or may occur in the future and relate to, among other things, the state of the economy, the Company’s investment and financing plans, net sales, comparable store sales, store openings and closings, restructuring charges, restructuring initiatives, workforce optimization, gross profit, income tax rates, capital expenditures, cost of sales, SG&A expenses, earnings per diluted share, dividends and share repurchases. Various risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. Consequently, all of the forward-looking statements made by the Company in this and in other documents or statements are qualified by factors, risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those set forth under the headings titled “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors” in the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission up to the date of this release.

Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. The Company does not undertake to update or revise these forward-looking statements even if experience or future changes make it clear that projected results expressed or implied in such statements will not be realized, except as may be required by law.

In addition, the amounts and timing of all estimates are subject to change. The actual amounts and timing may vary materially based on various factors, including the timing of store closings; the timing and amount of sublease income and other lease expense; factors relating to real estate including sale proceeds; asset write-downs and other factors affecting inventory value; changes in management's assumptions; and other factors.

Earnings Conference Call Information

The Company plans to host a conference call with investors today, July 10, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. ET to discuss the results. The Company will also discuss business initiatives, plans and expectations for fiscal 2014. After some prepared remarks by management, participants will have an opportunity to ask questions. The Company’s responses to questions, as well as other matters discussed during the conference call, may include information that has not been disclosed previously.

If you wish to participate, please call (800) 890-0881 for domestic US calls and (719) 325-2295 for international calls at least 10 minutes before the call is scheduled to begin. The passcode for the conference call is 3827795 or “FAMILY DOLLAR.”

A live webcast of the conference call with accompanying slides can be accessed at the following link. http://investor.familydollar.com/investors-relations/default.aspx

A replay of the webcast will be available at the address noted above after 11:00 a.m. ET, July 10, 2014.    

About Family Dollar

For more than 54 years, Family Dollar has been providing value and convenience to customers in easy-to-shop neighborhood locations. Family Dollar’s mix of name brands and quality, private brand merchandise appeals to shoppers in more than 8,200 stores in rural and urban settings across 46 states. Helping families save on the items they need with everyday low prices creates a strong bond with customers, who often refer to their neighborhood store as “my Family Dollar.” Headquartered in Matthews, North Carolina, just outside of Charlotte, Family Dollar is a Fortune 300, publicly held company with common stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FDO. For more information, please visit www.familydollar.com.

Family Dollar Contacts:

INVESTOR CONTACT:                                                MEDIA CONTACT: 
Kiley F. Rawlins, CFA                                                  Bryn R. Winburn
(704) 708-2858                                                          (704) 708-1653
krawlins@familydollar.com                                    bwinburn@familydollar.com