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    Family Dollar Will Try to Grab More Grocery Share in 2007

    MATTHEWS, N.C. -- Discount chain Family Dollar Stores, Inc. said yesterday it will continue to substantially expand its food retailing activity in the coming fiscal year, based on the fact that its grocery programs, among other initiatives, helped it to improve sales for the fourth quarter and full year of its fiscal 2006.

    MATTHEWS, N.C. -- Discount chain Family Dollar Stores, Inc. said yesterday it will continue to substantially expand its food retailing activity in the coming fiscal year, based on the fact that its grocery programs, among other initiatives, helped it to improve sales for the fourth quarter and full year of its fiscal 2006.

    "To better meet our customers' frequent fill-in food-shopping trip needs, we intend to continue to enhance our food strategy," said Howard R. Levine, chairman and c.e.o. (Story continues below.)

    "Two years ago, Family Dollar began aggressively investing in three key initiatives designed to drive sales and profitability: an enhanced food strategy, the Treasure Hunt merchandise program, and the Urban Initiative," Levine said. "These investments provided the foundation for this year's improved results."

    Among the food-related plans for the year ahead:

    -- Expanding its cooler program to an additional 1,000 stores,

    -- Increasing its food assortment in approximately 1,300 stores, and

    -- Accepting food stamps in approximately 750 stores by the end of the year.

    The chain said it will also, in line with its ongoing Urban Initiative, continue to focus on driving better returns in existing Urban Initiative markets, and begin to test price optimization.

    Net income for the quarter, which ended Aug. 26, jumped 32.9 percent to $38.8 million, compared with net income of $29.2 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005.

    In fiscal 2006, Family Dollar expanded its food cooler program to approximately 3,800 stores, improved the cross-functional support of its Treasure Hunt merchandise program, and improved the profitability of its Urban Initiative stores.

    Sales for the fourth quarter were approximately $1.578 billion, a 10.3 percent increase compared to last year. Sales of food, apparel, and electronics, including prepaid cellular phones and services, were the primary drivers of the sales increase. Sales in comparable stores increased 4.9 percent.

    For the full fiscal 2006, sales were approximately $6.395 billion, or 9.8 percent above fiscal 2005. Sales in comparable stores increased 3.7 percent. Net income, meanwhile, was $201.7 million, compared with $217.5 million in fiscal 2005.

    Family Dollar aims to open approximately 400 stores in fiscal 2007. It currently operates more than 6,100 stores in 44 states, ranging northwest to Idaho, northeast to Maine, southeast to Florida, and southwest to Arizona.

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