FINANCE

Family Dollar Shares Fall on 4Q Results

BY CSA STAFF

Matthews, N.C., Family Dollar’s shares fell Thursday after it lowered same-store sales expectations, while still reporting fiscal fourth-quarter results ahead of analyst expectations.

Family Dollar said earnings in the fourth quarter, ended Sept. 1, 2007, rose 17% to $37.8 million. The retailer reported sales of $1.63 billion, compared to $1.58 billion in the last quarter of 2006. Same-store sales rose 1%.

Improved merchandise markups, a better merchandise sales mix and lower inventory shrinkage offset higher seasonal markdowns, the company said. However, it warned that the rising cost of energy and other goods could keep its low-income customers out of stores.

“We continue to believe that our customers are consolidating trips in response to economic pressures and the volatility of gasoline prices,” CFO Kenneth Smith said in a conference call with analysts.

Goldman Sachs analyst Adrianne Shapira said in a note to investors same-store sales were under pressure. The company reduced September same-store sales guidance to flat to 1% from a previous range of 1% to 3% growth.

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Fresh & Easy joins greenhouse registry

BY CSA STAFF

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Tesco announced today that it’s upcoming Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain in California will join the California Climate Action Registry, the state’s only official registry for greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects.

The move is the latest in a series of steps Fresh & Easy has taken toward being eco-friendly, the company reported.

“Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is committed to tracking and reducing its carbon footprint,” said ceo Tim Mason. “We have already designed our stores and trucks to be more efficiently saving energy and reducing fuel consumption. It is a natural next step for us to measure our impact and look for ways to continually reduce our impact on the environment.”

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Dillard’s launches RFID pilot program

BY CSA STAFF

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Dilard’s announced today that it will begin using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in a tagging pilot program at its stores this month. According to the company, the pilot will consist of certain styles of merchandise being marked with RFID-enabled tags. The RFID/EPC (Electronic Product Code) tags function like an intelligent barcode and contain only the Electronic Product Code unique to each garment.

Dillard’s said these new tags will enable store associates to perform more frequent inventory counts on merchandise, with the ultimate goal of more timely replenishment of out-of-stocks. “We believe that the use of RFID technology can enable us to provide an even higher level service to our customers by enhancing our ability to have the right product available at the right time while providing us even more accurate information from our inventory control system.,” the company reported.

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