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Family Dollar Beats Estimate Despite Flat Q4 Comps

For the fourth quarter, ended August 31, Family Dollar Stores, Inc. announced net income of $102.2 million, or 88 cents per diluted share, versus $80.9 million, or 69 cents per diluted share, in the year-prior period. For the full 53-week fiscal year, according to the retailer, net income was $443.6 million, or $3.83 per diluted share, versus $422.2 million, or $3.58 per diluted share, for the 52-week year earlier.

Fourth-quarter net income included a one-time $5 million favorable adjustment related to a change in accounting for vendor allowances, Family Dollar stated. Excluding this adjustment and a litigation charge of $11.5 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, earnings per diluted share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 would have increased to 86 cents versus 75 cents in fiscal 2012. Excluding the accounting adjustment in fiscal 2013 and the litigation charge in fiscal 2012, earnings per diluted share would have increased to $3.80 at the end of the most recently completed fiscal year versus $3.64 in in the year earlier. Family Dollar estimated that the extra week in the current fiscal year contributed approximately $189 million in sales and seven cents of earnings per diluted share.

A Zacks consensus analyst estimate called for adjusted earnings per diluted share of 84 cents.

In the fourth quarter, the company noted, total net sales increased 5.8% to $2.5 billion while comparable store sales were flat. Both customer traffic and the average customer transaction value were flat during the quarter, Family Dollar pointed out. Consumables category sales came in strongest, up 8.3% in the quarter, driven primarily by growth in refrigerated and frozen food, health aids and tobacco, the company reported.

Fourth quarter operating profit advanced 23.9% to $155.6 million, or 6.2% of net sales, year over year, while adjusted operating profit was $150.6 million, or 6% of net sales, compared $137.1 million, or 5.8% of net sales, in fiscal 2012, the company maintained.

For the fiscal year, net sales increased 11.4% to $10.39 billion, while comps increased 3%. The gain resulted from increased customer traffic and an increase in the average customer transaction value, Family Dollar pointed out. Again, the consumables category performed best, up 16.9% over the year, driven primarily by strong growth in food, health and beauty aids and tobacco.

Posted operating profit in fiscal 2013 was $688 million, or 6.6% of net sales, compared with $664.2 million, or 7.1% of net sales, in the prior year. Adjusted operating profit in fiscal 2013 was $683 million, or 6.6% of net sales, compared with $675.7 million, or 7.2%, in fiscal 2012.

During fiscal 2013, Family Dollar opened 500 new stores, closed 26 and renovated, relocated or expanded 830, the company asserted. Family Dollar operates about 7,900 stores in 46 of the United States.