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    Family Dollar Realigns Upper Management

    MATTHEWS, N.C. -- Family Dollar, the second-largest dollar store chain in the nation, has realigned its upper management.

    MATTHEWS, N.C. -- Family Dollar, the second-largest dollar store chain in the nation, has realigned its upper management.

    The company said late last week that Robert George has joined its executive team as e.v.p., chief merchandising officer. In addition, Dorlisa Flur, s.v.p. of strategy and business development, will now assume responsibility for real estate and facility management.

    David Alexander, president and c.e.o., has left the company to pursue other opportunities. Howard Levine of Family Dollar's founding family remains as chairman and c.e.o.

    The company also gave an update on its financial performance. For the four-week period ended July 30, 2005, Family Dollar's comparable store sales decreased approximately 1.6 percent.

    The company said it expects comparable store sales in August to be flat to up 2 percent, which will result in flat comparable store sales for the fourth quarter.

    Family Dollar also said it expects pressure on its gross margin to continue, as a result of the ongoing shift of the merchandise mix to more lower-margin, basic consumables and higher freight costs.

    "We are encouraged by the results of our cooler initiative," said Levine in a statement. "In July, consumable sales in comparable stores with coolers increased approximately 7 percent, reflecting strong customer response to this initiative. During the next year, we plan to install coolers in 2,500 additional stores. Stores in the Urban Initiative are now reporting sales growth of 4 percent higher than would have been expected in the absence of this program, which is sufficient to offset the increased costs of the program. While it is too early to fully measure the favorable impact of the program on shrink results and employee turnover, these benefits are expected to further improve the performance of these stores. Next year, we will focus on enhancing the process and improving returns before we expand the program beyond the 1,300 stores that will be in the program at the end of September."

    Family Dollar currently operates 5,797 stores, including 57 stores that were opened in fiscal July 2005.

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