QUOTE AND NEWS
Benzinga  Jul 6  Comment 
MKM Partners shined a spotlight on June sales for Fred’s, Inc (NASDAQ: FRED), which MKM’s analysts believe may have been boosted by the Memorial Day holiday and warmer, drier weather. They expect to see a 1-3 percent increase in comps when...
SeekingAlpha  Jul 6  Comment 
Benzinga  Jun 29  Comment 
After the economy suffered a meltdown, dollar stores welcomed cash-strapped shoppers and the space exploded, making names like Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) and Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) big players in retail. Despite what the title...
Motley Fool  Jun 27  Comment 
The well-heeled are no longer ashamed to go down market.
Forbes  Jun 21  Comment 
NPD’s Checkout Tracking has found that 29 percent of Millennials who shopped at Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar were from households earning over $100,000 a year.
Clusterstock  Jun 16  Comment 
By Sruthi Ramakrishnan and Siddharth Cavale (Reuters) - Victoria Marin, a 35-year old author and educator, used to spend hundreds of dollars at large party-goods retailers on supplies that ended up in the trash can. But a visit to the...
Forbes  Jun 6  Comment 
Under pressure from dollar stores on the low end, a resurgent Target in the mid-tier, and Amazon on the product side for its stunningly broad assortments and equally low prices, Walmart has been thrashing through a series of unsuccessful...
Reuters  May 25  Comment 
Investors shell-shocked by dismal quarterly reports from department stores will look for new signs of hope for brick-and-mortar retailers on Thursday as discount sellers Dollar General Corp and Dollar Tree Inc hand in their results.
TechCrunch  May 24  Comment 
 Amid the shift of commerce to online stores like Amazon, one huge segment of the industry has been overlooked: dollar stores. Many assumed that’s because with retail price points that low, there’s little room for profitability – after...




 

Family Dollar Stores (NYSE: FDO) is a discount variety retailer operating 6,655 stores in 44 states. Most of the merchandise the company sells ranges from less than a dollar to around $10 in price, with the majority under $1 per unit. The company's strategy is to target low to lower-middle income households with cheap consumables and home goods. FDO recorded net sales of $7.867 billion and net income of $358 million in fiscal 2010.[1]

Unlike other retailers, FDO profits during recessionary U.S. Economic Cycles, as consumers substitute down to cheaper items. For example, recent harsh economic conditions led to a 23% increase in net income compared to fiscal 2009.[1] As a dollar-store retailer, Family Dollar has little ability to increase prices to compensate for any changes in input costs. Additionally, Family Dollar is trying to differentiate itself by focusing on selling food products and opening stores in urban areas.

Company Overview

Business Segments[2]

Family Dollar stores carry a variety of food products, housewares, clothing, accessories, toys, school supplies, and seasonal goods. The company divides its merchandise into the following segments:

Business Growth

FY 2010 (ended August 28, 2010)

  • Net sales of $7.867 billion, a 6.3% increase from fiscal 2009.[1]
  • FDO reported net income of $358.1 million, a 23% increase compared to fiscal 2009.[1].

Trends and Forces

Low Ability to Raise Prices

Discount retailers often experience difficulty passing on cost increases to customers, particularly "dollar-store" chains such as Family Dollar who by-name are obligated to keeping prices on some products at or under $1. In addition to this obligation, the company's customers can not afford to pay much more than a few dollars as many earn household incomes at, near, or below the poverty line.[3] Consequently, input cost increases (such as inventory, overhead, marketing) are difficult to pass on to consumers. Macroeconomic and company specific changes to cost structure, including higher distribution costs related to rising energy prices, and supplier or distributor consolidation may lead to large margin decreases that cannot be offset by price increases. This is particularly relevant to oil prices which increase freight costs and other activities related to getting products from factories to Family Dollar stores.

Stiff Competition and Low Competitive Advantages in a Mature and Saturated Market

Family Dollar competes against discounters with wider selection and significant cost and scale advantages in its local markets. A Family Dollar store operating within a few miles of a nearby Wal-Mart or Target, for instance, will struggle to compete on value and selection, and may instead gain customers via convenience and location. It also faces competition from other “dollar stores,” that have similar or identical value propositions, such as Dollar Tree Stores (DLTR), Dollar General (DG), and 99 Cents Only Stores (NDN). With low barriers to entry and few natural competitive advantages to gain, the industry has become flooded with dollar stores and collectively, these companies are approaching U.S. saturation. While Family Dollar has some competitive advantage in the southern US states, there is substantial risk of lower margins due to increased overhead expenses as well as stiff competition as other discounters pursue the same strategies.

Competition

Family Dollar vs. Comparable Dollar Stores

Family Dollar is a discount retailer that competes with other stores that have similar business models. Thus, the company faces direct competition from dollar-store chains, such as Dollar Tree Stores (DLTR) and 99 Cents Only Stores (NDN), that sell many of their products at or around $1.

  • 99 Cents Only Stores (NDN): operates 275 stores in the United States. The company sells all of its products for 99 cents or less. Food and grocery sales account for more than half of the company's annual revenue.[5]
  • Wal-Mart (WMT): is the world's third largest company[6] with 7,873 stores worldwide. Because of its mammoth size and buying power, Wal-Mart can buy its products at rock-bottom prices, exchanging high purchase volumes for low cost while passing the savings onto its customers.[7]
  • Target (TGT): operates 1,682 stores in 48 states. Target offers a range of general merchandise in a similar store format to Wal-Mart but targets a higher income demographic than that of Big Lots and Wal-Mart.[8]

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 FDO 2010 10-k
  2. FDO 2009 10-K "Merchandise" pg. 7
  3. U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty Measures
  4. DLTR 2009 10-K pg. 8
  5. NDN 2010 10-K pg. 3
  6. CNN Money "Fortune Global 500"
  7. WMT 2010 10-K, Exhibit 13, pg. 46-47
  8. TGT 2009 10-K, pg. 7
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