3Q Profits Slide

Goodlettsville, Tenn., Several retailers on Tuesday reported profit declines for their most-recently completed quarters. Dollar General said its third-quarter net income slipped despite higher revenue, as higher expenses and increased markdowns cut into earnings. For the quarter ended Oct. 28, the company earned $64.4 million, or 20? per share, down 9% from last year’s $71.1 million, or 22? per share. Sales totaled $2.06 billion, up 9.5% from last year’s $1.88 billion. Same-store sales rose 1.4%.

Other retailers reporting on Tuesday included: •Memphis-based based Fred’s Inc. saw its third-quarter profit drop 15%, hampered by hurricane-related expenses and an accounting charge related to the early renewal of a wholesale contract. The company reported net income of $6.3 million, or 16? a share, vs. a year-ago profit of $7.4 million, or 19? a share. Sales rose 8% to $376.8 million. Same-store sales slipped 1%.

•Dollar Tree Stores’ third quarter declined 2%, as sluggish customer traffic outweighed higher average purchases and cost controls. The chain reported net income of $31.1 million, or 29? a share, vs. a year-ago profit of $31.9 million, or 28? a share. The per-share results rose as Dollar Tree bought back 2.2 million shares of its own stock during the quarter, reducing the amount of shares outstanding. Sales rose 10% to $796.8 million. Same-store sales were off 1%.

•Philadelphia-based Mothers Work Inc. posted a wider fourth-quarter loss, weighed by competitive pressures, a surplus of merchandise and deep markdowns by competitors. Losses totaled $5.3 million, or $1.01 per share, compared with a year-ago loss of $3.9 million, or 76? per share. Net sales increased 12% to $135.2 million from $121 million in the year-ago period. Same-store sales decreased 1%.

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