Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Save a buck, drive a share price

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STORM-IKE/Check out the higher profits at discounter Family Dollar Stores.

Family Dollar, which prices most of its merchandise below $10, and other discounters like Wal-Mart and Dollar Tree, have been flourishing in the recession as consumers turn to them for low-priced essentials like food and cleaning supplies.

Family Dollar’s success in turn pleased shareholders, who pushed up the company’s shares in pre-market trading.

Sales and earnings in Family Dollar’s fiscal second quarter rose almost 9 and 33 percent, respectively, and the company boosted its financial forecasts for the second time.  Chief Executive Howard Levine said the current environment has resulted in more budget-minded consumers.

“In today’s challenging economic environment, families of all incomes are
looking for ways to save money,” he said in a statement, citing market share gains.

Retaining the “new” Wal-Mart Moms

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In the first two months of this year, Wal-Mart increased its share of the U.S. retail market by more than a full share point compared with same time a year ago, according to a new study from retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners. (Read about their strong February sales results.) 

In January and February Wal-Mart’s U.S. business rang up $44.64 billion of sales — representing 9.7 percent of total estimated U.S. retail sales, excluding auto/food services. That is up from last year, when its January and February U.S. sales were $42.02 billion, or 8.6 percent of total U.S. sales, according to CGP.

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