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    Family Dollar Expansion Continues With 7,000th Store Opening

    The discount retailer plans to open another 300 new stores in the coming fiscal year.

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- With fanfare, discount retailer Family Dollar marked the opening of its 7,000th store, at 656 S. Highland St. here, Memphis Daily News reported.

    "Family Dollar is absolutely thrilled to be opening our 7,000th store, and what better place to do so than in the great city of Memphis," said CEO Howard Levine, adding that the new store is an example of the chain's growth as a nationwide retail leader.

    Family Dollar, which began in North Carolina in 1959, is on a growth streak and has plans to open 300 new stores in the coming fiscal year from September to August, according to the newspaper. In addition to the openings, Family Dollar is renovating a little more than 900 of its stores, according to company public relations manager Josh Braverman.

    "I think the 300 new stores is in response to a couple of things," Braverman said. "Certainly the tough economic environment that we find ourselves in has definitely brought in a new customer to Family Dollar to maybe experience us for the first time. And it reinforces the value proposition that we know our core customer comes to us to save when they need to on items they need and use every day."

    The economy's effect on the real estate market also has presented the chain with opportunities to put stores in locations it might not have been able to get into in the past.

    "As a low-cost operator, finding a viable location for us to put our stores where we can make money but also provide great value has been challenging to some degree, but now we find an opportunity to reach out to the customer who may not have come to us in the past in a convenient environment for them," Braverman said.

    In the quarter that ended May 28, which was the fiscal third quarter for the company, Family Dollar reported net sales of $2.15 billion, compared to $1.99 billion during the same quarter in 2010. Net income for the quarter rose to $111.1 million compared to $104.4 million during the same quarter in 2010.

    Also during its third quarter, Family Dollar expanded its food assortment by about 20 percent and its assortment of health and beauty aids by about 25 percent in more than 5,000 stores.

    Family Dollar bills its core customer as a female head of household in her mid-40s making less than $40,000 a year, according to the report.

    "Our CEO has said he would put our new renovated store format up against any discount retailer in the country," Braverman said. "What we've done is we've widened the aisles. We've increased the assortment of consumables, which are those basic everyday needs. And we've increased the assortment of our name brands, which is a nice comfort factor for that new higher-income customer."

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