Family Dollar posts lower profit in Q1; 500 stores planned

Matthews, N.C. -- Family Dollar Stores Inc. reported Thursday a profit of $80.3 million for the quarter ended Nov. 24, compared with $80.4 million in the year-ago period.

The company said that higher sales on everyday items like cigarettes and soft drinks put pressure on margins.
    
Net sales increased 12.7% to $2.42 billion in the period, and same-store sales grew 6.6%.

According to CEO Howard R. Levine, results were at the low end of the company’s guidance. “The holiday selling season proved to be more challenging than we expected as customers faced increasing financial uncertainty,” he said.

Looking ahead, the company said it expects an increase in same-store sales of 4% to 6% in 2013 and plans to open about 500 new stores and close 70-90 existing locations.