Economic Fears Weigh on Family Dollar Earnings

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Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO) reported first-quarter fiscal 2014 results before markets opened Thursday morning. The discount retailer posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.68 on revenues of $2.50 billion. In the same period a year ago, Family Dollar reported EPS of $0.69 on revenue of $2.42 billion. First-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.69 and $2.51 billion in revenue.

The retailer also said same-store sales fell 2.8% in the first quarter. The decrease was attributed to lower average transaction value and less customer traffic.

The company’s outlook for its second quarter was not especially rosy. Family Dollar expects a low-single digit decline in same-store sales. EPS for the second quarter are projected at $0.85 to $0.95. However, the consensus estimate calls for EPS of $1.21 in the second quarter.

The Family Dollar forecast for full-year EPS was in a range of $3.25 to $3.55, compared with $3.83 in fiscal 2013, which was a 53-week year. Analysts on average expect to see $3.98 per share in earnings for the current fiscal year.

The company’s CEO said:

While the top line was pressured, we expanded gross margin and managed inventory levels well. In addition, we continued to make progress in our longer-term initiatives. We opened 126 new stores and renovated, relocated or expanded 179 stores. We also expanded our penetration of private brands, increased our percentage of direct imports, and improved our store manager retention.

Shares were inactive in premarket trading, after closing Wednesday at $66.34 in a 52-week range of $54.06 to $75.29. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $65.76 before the results were announced.