Dollar Store News

Buckstore Inc. participation at the Annual ASD AMD Las Vegas General Merchandise and Dollar Store Trade show. Booth display included POS Point of Sale demonstrations, store startup free consultations to the public, and some of the crew buildout teams / workers also answering questions to show attendees. Picture below shows Michael Warshower, President of Buckstore Inc., Philip Storch, Vicepresident, as well as part of the show staff.

New kind of dollar store to open on Elm
Greensboro News & Record
By Donald W. Patterson Last year, the Winston-Salem entrepreneur decided he could improve on the dollar-store concept, which has grown increasingly popular in the aftermath of the recession. “I wanted to take that model and transform it,” said Brown, … read more

Who has better bargains, grocers or dollar stores?
Mother Nature Network
Real Simple’s Sarah Humphreys reveals which items you should be buying at the dollar store to save and which items are worth splurging on at the grocery store. WorldShares lets you earn donations for your favorite nonprofit. Earn up to 20 points now. … read more

Wal-Mart (WMT) Investors to Focus on Domestic Results
Everything Gold (blog)
The bad news is same-store sales have dropped for six quarters in a row in America. The ongoing recession continues to take a bite out of Wal-Mart’s historic demographic, and as mentioned, they continue to spread their money around at dollar stores …read more

Walmart Forced To Compete With Dollar Stores For Customers
In May last year, I asked the musical question, “Can dollar stores survive an economic recovery?” The collective answer seems to be a resounding “Yes!” Not only are dollar stores surviving, they’re thriving and, according to an article in the New York Post, that’s forcing Walmart to compete with them for the lower-income shoppers that deserted them when the recession hit….read more

RetailWire Discussion: Rebound Won’t Slow Down Dollar Store Growth
Supply Chain Digest
Perhaps the greatest laboratory for this test will be the dollar store channel, which has experienced rapid growth in recent years. … read more

Dollar Store Profits Soar Despite Tough Times
KTSM News Channel 9
But a smaller group of stores has figured out a way to weather the storm. Reporter Matt Rivers has more. Dollar stores are doing well. … read more

Dollar General To Open 625 New Stores, Create 6K Jobs In FY11 – Quick Facts
RTT News
(RTTNews) – Dollar General Corp. (DG: News ) said it would open 625 new stores in fiscal 2011. The new store openings would create 6000 new jobs. …read more

Dollar stores: It’s the thought (and the savings) that counts
Access Atlanta
Dollar stores, which saw their revenues grow as the economy slowed, are continuing to entice shoppers this holiday season. Be they traditional dollar stores … read more

Dollar Stores Success Likely to Continue
NACS Online
Dollar stores have thrived during the recession and analysts have projected another year of good holiday sales, the Wall Street Journal reports. … read more

Recession is no problem for dollar stores
Charlotte Post
by Chris Levister, BlackVoiceNews.com Riverside, Calif., resident Mary Whitt shops less often these days at upscale mall stores and more at dollar stores. … read more

The battlefield for the mind and wallet of the American consumer is splayed across a strip mall in Charlotte, N.C. On one side of the parking lot, nestled between an empty storefront and the Family Christian store, is a Dollar Tree. At Dollar Tree, a chain of 4,009 superdiscount outlets, every item indeed costs a dollar or less. If anyone needs a reminder, the signage on top of the store and three stickers on the front window scream, “Everything’s a Dollar! Everything’s a Dollar! Everything’s a Dollar!”
This Dollar Tree faces a sprawling Walmart Supercenter–a runt ready to take swings at... Read more.

Canada’s largest dollar store operator profit jumps in third quarter
Vancouver Sun
Canada’s largest operator of dollar stores also recorded higher sales, bringing in $355.7 million for the quarter, a 13.7 per cent increase from last year. …
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Dollar Stores Are Taking Walmart’s Lunch Money
DailyFinance
Chains such as Dollar Tree (DLTR), Family Dollar Stores (FDO) and Dollar General (DG) are hitting the world’s largest retailer where it hurts — in the food …
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Dollar Stores, Growth For Another Decade (DG, DLTR, FDO, WMT, SHLD, NDN)
24/7 Wall St. (blog)
Dollar stores are still king… Unemployment is expected to remain high, or at least ‘under-employment’ will reign as a continued theme ahead. …
See all stories on this topic »

Brookneal dollar store is back in business!
Brookneal Union Star
Pa’Trice Dollar Plus, located on Main Street, Brookneal, will open its doors on Friday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 6, to allow members of the community to make special purchases for the Shoe Box Day Samaritan’s Purse.

Brookneal Baptist Church as well as other local churches and organizations are building gift boxes for children in need. The program is for a great cause and even though the store’s official opening is not until next Friday, management would like to welcome all members of the community to visit the store on the 5th and 6th to meet the November 15th deadline for shoebox submissions.

Items are $1.00 with many to choose from. Owner Stephanie Gibson said, “So please feel free to stop by this week on Friday and Saturday only, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. The Grand Opening for Pa’Trice Dollar Plus is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 12, 2010.”

Dollar Tree Acquires Dollar Giant to Jump-Start Expansion into Canada

Dollar Tree DLTR announced plans to acquire Dollar Giant, an 85-unit privately held Canadian dollar store chain, for CAD 52 million in cash, representing a 2% unit growth to its existing store base (3,961 locations). Given that the scale of the acquisition is relatively small, the difference had minimal impact on our valuation, and we are maintaining our fair value estimate.

In our view, this move is strategic, as it will help jump-start Dollar Tree’s expansion into Canada, a first among competitors such as Dollar General DG and Family Dollar FDO to expand internationally. Similar to the dollar stores in the U.S., Dollar Giant carries seasonal goods and everyday consumables priced CAD 1.25 or less, and the chain operates primarily in heavily populated provinces such as British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The company is the third-largest chain in Canada, behind Dollarama (600 stores) and Your Dollar Store With More (140 stores). Based on our preliminary analysis, the deep-discount channel in Canada appears to be more fragmented, where national chains have a customer reach of only 37,000 per store, relative to 15,000 customers per unit in the U.S., pointing to further expansion opportunities for Dollar Tree in the region. The transaction is expected to close by November 2010.

US: Family Dollar to open new stores as profits surge 23%

Discount retailer Family Dollar Stores Inc is to open more stores and expand its refurbishment programme after posting 23% surge in fourth quarter and full-year profit.

The company said it plans to open around 300 new stores in the year ahead – a 50% increase over fiscal 2010 – and renovate 600-800 of its 6,800 stores as part of moves to drive revenue growth. Changes will include a layout for new stores that is more convenient and easier to shop.
The expansion was revealed as the company booked a 23.0% surge in fourth quarter profit to $74.0m or $0.56 per share, up from $60.1m or $0.43 per share a year earlier.
Net sales in the three months to 28 August were $1.957bn, a rise of 8.0% on revenues of $1.811bn posted a year ago, while same-store sales increased 6.1%.
Gross profit edged up to 34.7% of sales, from 34.5% last time, as lower inventory shrinkage and higher purchase mark-ups more than offset higher freight costs and markdowns.
The company said the results were helped by longer operating hours, as well as improvements to its merchandise assortment including a focus on quality.
“We are particularly pleased that sales of apparel began to show modest growth, especially as we lowered inventory levels by more than 10% per store through our space realignment and inventory management efforts,” CFO Ken Smith also told analysts on a conference call. New lines introduced during the quarter include the Kidgets budget clothing and accessories range for babies and toddlers.
For the year, net income was also up 23.0%, climbing to $358.1m or $2.62 per share from $291.3m or $2.07 per share the year before. Fiscal sales were $7.867bn, a rise of 6.3% above last year’s $7.401bn, with same-store sales up 4.8%. And gross profit lifted to 35.7% of sales, up from 34.8%.
Looking ahead, chairman and CEO Howard Levine said that as well as investing to drive revenues, the retailer is also strengthening its global sourcing and private brand efforts “to provide customers with quality products while lowering our overall sourcing costs.”
And he added that “although the operating environment continues to be uncertain,” the company will continue to deliver double-digit earnings growth of between $2.95 and $3.15 per share in fiscal 2011.
 

Stores Scramble to Accommodate Budget Shoppers

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
Published: September 21, 2010

The country’s continued economic doldrums have stores scrambling for the once-ignored low-end customer, as people make fewer costly shopping trips to stock their pantries, and increasingly, can only afford inexpensive items in small quantities like those sold at dollar stores.
Dollar stores have shown the biggest gain in shopper visits over the last year out of all the retailers that sell basic consumer goods, according to market research data. Manufacturers are racing to package more affordable versions of products common at those stores, and other budget retailers, feeling the loss of customers, are trying to duplicate their success.
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is adding thousands of items to its shelves, including inexpensive ones, and is asking dollar-store suppliers to create small, under-a-dollar packages for its stores, too. In areas with high unemployment, Wal-Mart is grouping together its less than $1 items in a clear challenge to the dollar stores.
The impetus for the downmarket trend is the continued tightening of household budgets, retailers and analysts said.
Some customers at Wal-Mart and the major dollar chains — Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree — have such modest budgets that the retailers report upticks in spending at the beginning of the month, when government benefit checks and many paychecks come through. Late in the month, sales drop as even multiroll packs of paper towels are ditched for a single roll. READ MORE

Dollar General (DG) – Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers

Dollar General Corporation (DG) finished Thursday’s session as one of the top-performing Zacks #1 Rank companies. Shares were up around 5.6%. Volume came very close to 1.9 million shares today, which was a bit above the daily average at north of 1.2 million.
The performance also made DG the best-performing retailer, a day after some less-than-spectacular news for the retail industry. It was announced on Wednesday that retail sales in June were off 0.5%, better then the month before but still worse than the consensus at a 0.2% decline.
We may be in the thick of earnings season right now, but DG reported its fiscal first quarter numbers in early June. (It won’t report again until September; as with many retailers, its year ends in January.) It’s most recent report had everything you could want in an announcement, including a positive earnings surprise, double-digit revenue growth, positive same-store sales growth and even an enhanced full-year profit outlook.
There are a good amount of retail companies in the Zacks #1 Rank List right now, but only 3 are from the retail-discount industry. Other than Dollar General, the other 2 names are 99¢ Only Stores (NDN) and Dollar Tree, Inc. (DLTR). Sales jumped nearly 12% to $3.11 billion, versus $2.78 billion a year earlier. Same-store sales were up 6.7%.
Dollar General is a discount retailer in the U.S. that separates its merchandise into 4 categories: highly consumable, seasonal, home products and basic clothing. As has been said countless times before, the discount retailers have an edge in retail during tough economic circumstances because consumers seek out bargains as they cut back on expenses.

Dollar General opens 9,000th Store
August 02, 2010 (USA)

Dollar General Corporation will return to the state where it all started to celebrate the opening of its 9,000th store, at its newest location in Fountain Run, Ky. This milestone further distinguishes Dollar General as the retailer with the largest number of company-owned stores in the United States.

“The opening of our 9,000th store is an exciting time for the Dollar General family, and I would like to thank our 80,000 employees for all they do every day to help us keep growing and serving our customers,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “As the company has evolved and expanded over the decades, we’ve remained true to our mission of serving others and our everyday low price model. We look forward to what the future holds as we continue to serve the needs of our customers in communities throughout the country.”

The first Dollar General store opened in Springfield, Ky. in 1955. The company now has 9,000 stores in 35 states.

The simplicity that defined Dollar General’s past is the engine that drives the company’s success today. Dollar General remains committed to its mission of serving others and carries out this mission by providing convenience and value to all customers, in addition to supporting local communities.

Dollar General Corporation

Sales jumped nearly 12% to $3.11 billion, versus $2.78 billion a year earlier. Same-store sales were up 6.7%.

Dollar General is a discount retailer in the U.S. that separates its merchandise into 4 categories: highly consumable, seasonal, home products and basic clothing. As has been said countless times before, the discount retailers have an edge in retail during tough economic circumstances because consumers seek out bargains as they cut back on expenses.

Below are the top five companies in the General Merchandise Stores industry as ranked by gross margin. Gross Margin tells you how many of your sales dollars are profit. If efficiency is improved, more profits will result.
99 Cents Only Stores (NYSE:NDN) has gross margin of 41.1%, a sales growth of 3.1%, and trailing 12 months sales of $1.4 billion.
Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) has gross margin of 40.6%, a sales growth of 8.2%, and trailing 12 months sales of $4.8 billion.
Tuesday Morning (NASDAQ:TUES) has gross margin of 37.5%, a sales growth of 3%, and trailing 12 months sales of $816.2 million.
Family Dollar Stores (NYSE:FDO) has gross margin of 35.4%, a sales growth of 4.9%, and trailing 12 months sales of $7.6 billion.
Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) has gross margin of 35.2%, a sales growth of 12.6%, and trailing 12 months sales of $5.4 billion.
SmarTrend is bullish on shares of DLTR and our subscribers were alerted to Buy on March 02, 2009 at $26.08. The stock has risen 60.5% since the alert was issued.

Dollar Tree Profit Jumps 37%

Dollar Tree Inc.’s fiscal second-quarter earnings jumped 37% as new stores contributed to revenue and same-store sales continued to improve.

The retailer boosted its view for the year to earnings of $2.97 to $3.09 a share on sales of $5.77 billion to $5.86 billion.

Dollar store owners and associates speak out

With all of the criticism that some people like to heap on dollar stores about everything being junk made in China or food products past their expiration dates, I suppose it was only natural that dollar store owners and people who work there would want to defend their stores. Here’s a sampling of some of the comments I’ve received over the last few weeks from dollar store owners and associates.

A store owner observed that a lot of the things she gets in to sell are made in Canada or Mexico, as well as China. Some are also made in America. She goes on to say that most of it is merchandise that was put on closeout and has then become available to dollar stores. Many of the things that are made in China have Wal-mart tags on them. This writer makes a distinction between her store and Dollar Tree, so I’m assuming that this is an independently owned store.

A teacher who started working part-time at Dollar Tree when the economy tanked, said that the company has been a pleasure to work for, wrote a long list of all of the quality brand name products that Dollar Tree sells and says that she buys about a third of her own weekly grocery needs there. The store tends to turn over food products within days, so that items past expiration dates are rare. This writer also emphasized that, if you do get a defective product — she referenced the sponge mop — you can have it replaced or exchange it for something else as long as you have the receipt.

A Dollar General store manager in Pittsburgh wrote to defend the medications and vitamins they sell, saying that they are on a par with national brands with some even being made by national brands. All of their products are 100% guaranteed or your money back, receipt or not. The manager went on to say that, before starting with the company, he/she believed that the food products were older, almost out-of-date or just really bad generic brands. Afterward, he/she realized that just wasn’t true; the store gets in fresh products nearly every day.

Dollar General sells Stroehmann’s bread and the Dollar General brand, which is also made by Stroehmann’s. The manager also says that he/she often prefers the store brand foods over the national brands. An example was the Dollar General brand of fudge striped shortbread cookies over the same kind of Keebler cookies.

Someone who has worked at a Dollar Tree at one point in her life said that some products are sent to dollar stores simply because of small mistakes in production. The store where she worked once received a shipment of pregnancy tests that would ordinarily sell for $20 at any other store. The only thing that was wrong with them was that, during the packing process, some of the boxes got glued shut and sent out empty. The store simply threw away the empty boxes and sold the others for a buck.

Sometimes, manufactures make too many of a certain product or the item is out-of-season, so they sell these things to dollar stores, rather than take the loss.

Dollar Stores Continue to Gain Food Shoppers
In the Dollar Store world, Dollar General (DG) and Dollar Tree continue to perform the best in terms of sales comps and profitability. …
Dollar Tree (DLTR) announced their recent earnings, and Wall Street likes what it sees . Dollar Tree reported strong earnings on a +12 % sales gain. Net margins continue to improve driven by expanded offerings of branded and private label foods. Consumers continue to favor these low price leaders along with club stores Costco (COST) and BJ’s (BJ), and extreme value stores like Aldi and Save-Alot (subsidiary of Super Valu (SVU).

The price sensitive consumer appears to be here to stay, and food products are the main driver of traffic for the non-traditional grocery stores. Dollar Tree announced a strong +6.6% increase in traffic in the latest quarter.

Discount food retailers are seeing similar overall strength in customer traffic as consumers continue to diversify their food shopping occasions from traditional grocery stores. Grocery store leaders Whole Foods (WFMI) ,Super Valu and Kroger (KR) continue to feel sales pressure from the discounters with the perception of value being the key consumer decision criteria.

In the Dollar Store world, Dollar General (DG) and Dollar Tree continue to perform the best in terms of sales comps and profitability. Dollar General generates 11.5 billion in annual sales and they posted a +13% increase in sales in the latest quarter. Family Dollar (FDO) has sales of $7.5 B but slower growth at +4%.

Dollar Tree ranks third in total sales with $5.1 billion in annual sales. 99 Cents Stores has the lowest mix of food and generated +4% growth on $1.35 B in sales. Dollar Tree and Dollar General have the strongest net margins at 9% and 8% respectively. All are expanding the amount of food products being offered and that is helping drive traffic for the total dollar store universe.

The trend towards improved traffic at dollar stores driven by food purchases should continue throughout 2010. Of the 4 main competitors we like Dollar Tree best for its strong growth and reasonable valuation. Dollar General also continues to perform well and has the largest market share, but sports a slightly higher PE (23 versus 17) than Dollar Tree, despite similar growth projections. We think the discount/value trend will continue, making both Dollar Tree and Dollar General good stocks for potential buys.

Dollar Tree, Inc. Reports Record Results
Fourth Quarter 2009 Earnings Per Share Increased 32.2%, to $1.52

CHESAPEAKE, Va., Feb 24, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — –Fourth Quarter 2009 Operating Margin Increased 210 Basis Points, to 14.0% –Fiscal Year 2009 Earnings Per Share Increase 40.7%, to $3.56

Dollar Tree, Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!dltr/quotes/nls/dltr (DLTR 56.90, +0.13, +0.23%) , the nation’s leading operator of discount variety stores selling everything for $1 or less, reported earnings per diluted share of $1.52, for the quarter ended January 30, 2010 (“fourth quarter”), an increase of 32.2% compared to the $1.15 earnings per diluted share reported for the quarter ended January 31, 2009. Consolidated net sales for the fourth quarter were $1.56 billion, a 12.4% increase compared to $1.39 billion reported for the quarter ended January 31, 2009. Comparable-store sales increased 6.6% for the quarter.

“We are very pleased with our 4th quarter and full year 2009 financial performance,” said President and CEO Bob Sasser. “Dollar Tree achieved record sales and earnings and I am especially proud of the significant improvements in our operating margin and inventory productivity. Customers like our convenient locations, friendly shopping environment and exciting merchandise value. In 2010, we expect continued positive results from our focus on merchandise productivity, keen management of supply chain and back office expenses and investment in initiatives and merchandise to thrill the customer. Dollar Tree is well positioned for continued growth.”

Operating margin increased 210 basis points for the quarter to 14.0%. The improvement was driven by a 150 basis point increase in gross margin and a 60 basis point reduction in Selling, General and Administrative expenses.

During the fourth quarter 2009, the Company repurchased 0.8 million shares of its common stock for $38.5 million. Year-to-date, the Company has repurchased 4.3 million shares for $193.1 million. At the end of the fourth quarter, $260.6 million remain under the $500 million share repurchase program authorized by the Board of Directors.

For the year, sales totaled $5.23 billion, a 12.6% increase year-over-year, on a comparable store sales increase of 7.2%. Operating margin increased to 9.8% in 2009, from 7.9% one year ago. Diluted earnings per share were $3.56, an increase of 40.7% from diluted earnings per share of $2.53 in 2008.

The Company continues to grow. During the fourth quarter, Dollar Tree opened 7 stores, closed 4 stores, and expanded 1 store. For the year, the Company opened 240 new stores, closed 25 stores and expanded or relocated 75 stores. Retail selling square footage at fiscal year end was 32.3 million, a 6.6% increase compared to a year ago.

Inventory Accounting Change

The Company uses the retail inventory method to assign cost to store inventories. Since inception, the Company has employed one inventory pool for this calculation. Effective January 31, 2010, the first day of fiscal 2010, the Company will use approximately 30 inventory pools in its retail inventory calculation. This change was made possible by the Company’s investments in information systems. It will facilitate improved decision-making and further enhance our assortment planning process.

As a result of this change, in the first quarter 2010 the Company expects to record a non-recurring, non-cash charge to gross profit and a corresponding reduction in inventory, at cost, that is currently estimated at approximately $28 million, or $0.20 per diluted share. This impact accumulated over the 23-year history of the Company, and is included in our guidance. There will be no effect on prior periods related to this change in inventory accounting.

Guidance

The Company estimates sales for the first quarter of 2010 to be in the range of $1.29 – $1.33 billion, based on positive low -to- mid single digit comparable store sales, and 6.3% square footage growth. Diluted earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $0.57 to $0.65, including the aforementioned non-cash charge relating to the inventory accounting change. Absent this charge, earnings per diluted share for the first quarter 2010 would be expected to range from $0.77 to $0.85. The Company reported earnings per diluted share of $0.66 for the first quarter 2009.

For the full year, the Company estimates sales will range from $5.59 – $5.76 billion. This estimate is based on a range of low -to -mid single digit positive comparable-store sales, and square footage growth of approximately 6.3% for the year. Fiscal year 2010 diluted earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $3.76 to $4.03, including the non-cash charge relating to the inventory accounting change in the first quarter. Excluding the charge, earnings per diluted share for the full year 2010 would be expected to range from $3.96 to $4.23. These estimates assume no impact from potential additional share repurchase activity in 2010.

On Wednesday, February 24, 2010, the Company will host a conference call to discuss its earnings results at 9:00 a.m. EST. The telephone number for the call is 888-819-8015. A recorded version of the call will be available until midnight Wednesday, March 3, and may be accessed by dialing 888-203-1112, and the pass code is 1696485. International callers may dial 719-457-0820 and the pass code is 1696485. A webcast of the call will be accessible through Dollar Tree’s website, www.dollartreeinfo.com/investors/news/events.

Financial Reporting Schedule

Beginning with the first quarter of fiscal 2010, the Company will announce financial results on the third Thursday following quarter end. Along with this change, quarterly net sales and comparable-store sales will be reported as part of the Company’s quarterly financial results. The Company will no longer report quarterly net sales and comparable store sales in a separate press release.

Dollar Tree, a Fortune 500 Company, operated 3,806 stores in 48 states as of January 30, 2010, with total retail selling square footage of 32.3 million. To learn more about the Company, visit www.Dollartree.com.

A WARNING ABOUT FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: This press release contains “forward looking statements” as that term is used in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward looking statements address future events, developments or results and typically use words such as believe, will, anticipate, expect, intend, plan, forecast, or estimate. For example, our forward looking statements include statements regarding total and comparable-store sales and earnings for future periods, our plans for square footage growth and our estimated non-cash charge to inventory. Among the factors that could cause actual results and outcomes to differ materially from those contained in such forward-looking statements are: general economic conditions, activities of competitors, inflation and fuel and labor costs, weather, changes in law or regulations, and foreign currency fluctuation. A further list and description of these risks, uncertainties and other matters can be found in the company’s annual report and other reports filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For a discussion of the risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could affect our future events, developments or results, you should carefully review the “Risk Factors,” “Business,” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed March 26, 2009 and our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed November 24, 2009. In light of these risks and uncertainties, the future events, developments or results described by our forward looking statements in this document could turn out to be materially and adversely different from those we discuss or imply. Dollar Tree cautions that the foregoing list of important factors may not be complete, and we are not obligated to release publicly any revisions to any forward looking statements contained in this press release to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this report and you should not expect us to do so.

Tired of bad news? Here’s some good news.

It may go down as the year of lost jobs, but good things also happened in Hampton Roads’ economy in 2009. Forget about the layoffs and plant closings for today. As the nation suffered in the recession, Hampton Roads hurt less.

First-time homebuyers lifted the housing market thanks to a tax credit from Uncle Sam. Trader Joe’s opened at Hilltop, and penny-pinching shoppers flocked to Dollar Trees everywhere. It cost less to fill up your gas tank, and the air got clearer at your local eateries and watering holes. 

And it turned out that those big cranes down on the waterfront may be worth hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars to the state. Here’s a look at what The Pilot’s business news team thinks are the top “good news” stories of 2009:

Our economy is among the strongest

Facing the worst downturn in more than a half-century, some Hampton Roads businesses scrapped or postponed projects. Some laid off employees.

The region, however, has weathered the recession better than many parts of the country did. In a series of reports on economic activity in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, the Brookings Institution, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. , said the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News region ranked among the top 20 areas in performance.

Hampton Roads was one of only a half-dozen where the output of goods and services surpassed their pre-recession peak by the summer of 2009, noted Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program in a report for the July-through-September period. The Brookings program evaluates the strength of metro areas according to changes in their employment and jobless rates, output of goods and services, and home prices

Dollar General Posts Profit as Sales Rise 13%

Dollar General Corp. returned to profitability in the third quarter, springing back from prior-year legal costs, while the discount chain continued to attract more shoppers and improve sales and margins.

For the quarter ended Oct. 30, revenue jumped 13% to $2.93 billion, reflecting sales growth of roughly 15% for consumable and seasonal items, its largest categories. Same-store sales climbed 9.2%

The Cheap Issue: Dollar-store shopping spree

We tend to check out dollar stores around the holidays (there’s no better place to find dirt-cheap Christmas cards and gift wrap) but not so much the rest of the year.

So with an eye toward saving a buck all year round, we scoured the local discount-store scene with a $30 budget to see how much stuff we could find that we could realistically use in our day-to-day lives. And we found plenty — brand-name cleaning supplies and cosmetics, pricy-looking home decor items and lots of everyday necessities like flashlights, screwdrivers and scissors.

A tip: Be sure to pay attention to the prices listed on the store shelves. Many so-called dollar stores actually price lots of merchandise at $5, $10, $20 and above. —Brittany Kress, Shelley Mann & Melissa Starker

All prices $1 unless otherwise noted

Dollar Depot And More Changes Ownership

As if Dolly Boling didn’t have enough to do – she is currently serving as treasurer for the Bonners Ferry Chamber of Commerce, treasurer for Friends of Downtown, treasurer for the Holiday Fund and is a member of the Hall Mountain Fire Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary – she recently purchased one of downtown Bonners Ferry’s busiest businesses, Dollar Depot And More.

Although she has been the manager of Dollar Depot And More for six years (she originally helped stock shelves before the store was open for business ) this dynamo of a business woman is determined to change the image of what people sometimes flippantly refer to as “the dollar store.”

“I want to get away from the dollar store image,” emphasized Dolly. “This was a dollar store originally but only for about three months before Vi Sims bought the business. We added the “And More” phrase to designate that we carry higher quality merchandise than you would get at a typical dollar store.”

Under her capable management, Dolly is determined to, in her words, “stay the friendly downtown store we’ve always been.” She is planning to continue doing business with the discount wholesalers whom she has been previously working with, but in addition, she plans to add merchandise that shoppers could purchase at places such as Wal-Mart and Target.
“I want to carry general merchandise where people can come and look for what they need, things that they might previously have had to travel to Sandpoint to get. I try to have three price points so that the store will attract all levels of shoppers,” she remarked.

Because Dollar Depot And More has the largest square footage of any other store in Bonners Ferry except for the grocery stores, Dolly is considering widening her hefty inventory even more to include such items as undergarments, socks, belts, scarves, hats, gloves and handbags.

“When I go to the big shows to buy my inventory, I have a lot of New York designers available to me,” she said. “They bring their discounted items to the shows and I am able to pick them up for a reasonable price.”
With the knowledge that Bonners Ferry isn’t Rodeo Drive (and doesn’t want to be), Dolly plans to keep her clothing items to things that regular people would wear for “every day general use.”

Dolly is passionate about her business and is committed to creating greater access to good quality items for Boundary County residents.

“I couldn’t see bailing on this business opportunity,” she added. “Bonners Ferry needs this store and that is why I took the plunge. I take customer suggestions very seriously. In fact, I keep a list of items that customers ask for and if a particular item is asked for enough times, I’ll try to find it.”

An ardent proponent of buying locally, Dolly related that spending dollars locally is crucial for the local businesses, hers included.

“My invitation is for people to come in regularly. We get new freight all the time and there are always new things to see. My dream is that in seven years, one of my employees will want the store and it will just keep being handed down,” she concluded.

Dollarama sees opportunity to grow by 30 to 40 stores per year as IPO gets underway
By Kristine Owram (CP) – 3 days ago

TORONTO — Dollarama Inc. (TSX:DOL), betting the surge in sales it has enjoyed during the recession will have staying power when the economy recovers, intends to expand its presence by 30 to 40 stores a year for the foreseeable future.

In a prospectus filed as part of an initial public offering, Canada’s largest discount retailer said it sees “opportunity for significant growth” as it becomes a publicly traded company.

Currently, the Montreal-based retailer operates 585 stores across the country, but said it sees the potential for at least 900 based on its current per capita penetration rate in Quebec, which is much higher than in the other provinces.

Discount retailers have fared very well during the recession as consumers look for deals on consumables, toys and household necessities. Dollarama, for example, recorded a seven per cent increase in same-store sales in its fiscal second quarter.

However, whether they can continue their growth once the economy begins to rebound is an open question.

Retail analyst Wendy Evans, founder of Evans and Company Consultants Inc., said there’s room for expansion in the dollar-store sector as long as they continue to offer a wide variety of products.

“Probably as the economy improves and the market expands, I guess that the prices may go up a little bit more and they’ll be able to expand their assortments more broadly,” Evans said.

“Whether the growth will be as good as previously I don’t know but I think there’s still lots of opportunity for new stores.

John Williams, president of retail consultant J.C. Williams Group, said he thinks the dollar-store market is “close to being saturated” as other mass merchants start to offer similar prices to stay competitive.

But he said stores like Dollarama should be able to maintain at least a portion of the new customers they gained during the recession.

“When times get good again some people will go back to their old ways, but there will be a portion of the population that says, ‘Well, that dollar greeting card will be just fine.”‘

The stock market seems to agree. Shares in the company added 81 cents or 4.4 per cent to $19.26 in their first few hours of trading.

Dollarama said it is in the process of setting itself apart from its dollar store competitors – including Buck or Two, Dollar Giant, Dollar Store With More, Everything For a Dollar and the Great Canadian Dollar Store – through its consistent product offerings at multiple price points.

“Many Canadian dollar stores have a market positioning similar to close-out retailers, offering a ‘treasure hunt’ type shopping experience. Product selection and availability at these retailers change frequently and are often inconsistent, largely as a result of a sourcing strategy focused on importers and liquidators,” the company wrote in its prospectus.

“Some dollar stores, including Dollarama, have differentiated themselves by offering a more consistent product selection which includes everyday household needs and a selection of nationally branded products, as well as an assortment of unique and seasonal items. This strategy is intended to drive customer loyalty and repeat traffic.”

In addition, the company recently broadened its single $1 price point to include items priced at $1.25, $1.50 and $2.

In the quarter ended Aug. 2, items priced above $1 represented 24 per cent of Dollarama’s sales and the company said the new price points contributed significantly to its comparable-store sales growth of seven per cent.

“Since the introduction of multiple price points, comparable store sales have been driven both by an increase in units sold and by an increase in average selling price,” the company said, adding that it intends to expand the range of products available at different price points.

In the second quarter of its fiscal 2010, the company saw profits of $25.7 million, down from $26 million for the same period a year earlier.

Sales jumped nearly 15 per cent to $303.4 million from $264.3 million as consumers sought to spend on cheaper goods because of the recession.

Dollarama is the biggest operator of discount retail stores in Canada and employs approximately 12,000 people. Its product offering is approximately 37 per cent consumable products like cleaning supplies and snacks; 47 per cent general merchandise including kitchenware and toys; and 16 per cent seasonal products such as Valentine’s Day and Halloween merchandise.

The company said Thursday it hoped to raise $300 million in its initial public offering of 17.1 million shares at an IPO price of $17.50. It said this money will be used to repay debt.

Based on the initial public offering price, Dollarama’s market capitalization will be approximately $1.3 billion.

Andrew Willis and Boyd Erman

Globe and Mail Update Thursday, Sep. 10, 2009 08:00PM EDT

Canada’s biggest dollar-store chain, which expanded and prospered while consumers pinched their pennies, now plans to go public as the economy heals and markets thaw.

Dollarama Group LP, the Montreal-based chain with 585 stores, plans an initial public offering of more than $250-million this fall, cashing in on its success during the recession, investment banking sources said.

The deal marks the continued thawing of an IPO market that froze during the financial crisis. It also gives its majority owner, Bain Capital LLC, a much-needed win.

An IPO from a name-brand company such as Dollarama would mark the third large corporate debut on Canadian public markets in as many months, marking the end of a nine-month drought in IPOs that began in 2008. Insurer Genworth MI Canada Inc. and power company Magma Energy Corp. went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange this summer, raising $850-million and $100-million respectively.

A number of companies have also sold stock recently as investors bet on a full-fledged recovery. WestJet Airlines Ltd. raised $150-million this week, and investment bankers said Dollarama would make much the same pitch to potential shareholders.

Discount and dollar stores have generally been able to make sales gains in the recession as cash-strapped consumers look for bargains.

Dollarama recently hired advisers to work on the sale of 25 to 30 per cent of the company, sources said. The chain is 80 per cent controlled by Boston-based Bain, which purchased its stake in 2004 from chief executive officer Larry Rossy in a deal that valued Dollarama at $1-billion.

Bain is expected to target its IPO campaign at Canadian investors, as domestic retailers such as Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. and Loblaw Cos. Ltd. draw premium valuations compared with U.S. peers. As the leading player in its sector, Dollarama will attempt to claim the same lofty status. Bain was a minority owner of Shoppers when the drugstore chain went public in 2001.

“Bain will be selling from a position of strength. The chain is doing well in a tough environment,” said one investment banker who follows Dollarama but is not working on the IPO.

Spokespersons for Dollarama and Bain declined to comment.

Since the buyout five years ago, Bain and Mr. Rossy have doubled the number of stores, and boosted sales and profit by rolling out new lines at higher prices. Not everything in Dollarama costs a buck these days: Since February, shelves have been stocked with plenty of items priced at $1.25, $1.50 and $2.

Privately owned Dollarama reported financial results yesterday – the company’s debt trades on U.S. markets – and sales were up 14 per cent to $303-million in the most recent quarter compared with 2008, in part because the chain opened 54 new stores over the past year. Same-store sales rose 7 per cent, while quarterly operating profit was flat at $35-million. Dollarama has $460-million in debt.

RBC Dominion Securities and CIBC World Markets were major lenders to Bain on the 2004 buyout, and sources say these two investment banks are expected to play leading roles in an IPO.

Bain, a $60-billion (U.S.) fund, is not the only private equity fund selling a stake in a discount retailer. Rival Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. filed late in August for a $750-million IPO for its U.S. chain Dollar General Corp., with analysts pegging the value of the whole company at up to $10-billion.

Dollar General is much bigger than Dollarama, with almost 8,600 stores and quarterly revenue approaching $3-billion.

“Bain wants to move ahead of the Dollar General IPO, while capitalizing on that buzz with investors,” said another investment banker familiar with the fund’s plan, but not working on the IPO. He added that the fund will not initially get private equity’s traditional 15-per-cent-plus expected annual returns on its Dollarama investment, but said: “Bain isn’t really cashing in. They are getting liquidity, but still plan to ride with the company, as they did with Shoppers.”

KKR, Bain and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the former owners of Shoppers, sold their stakes in the drugstore chain over several years, after buying the retailer in 1999.

USA Corporation Receives 2009 Best of Greenacres Award

I am pleased to announce that Zone USA Corporation has been selected for the 2009 Best of Greenacres Award in the Discount Stores category by the US Commerce Association.

Award Image

In recognition of your achievement, a 2009 Best of Greenacres Award has been designed for display at your place of business. You may arrange to have your award sent directly to Zone USA Corporation by following the simple steps on the 2009 Best of Greenacres Award order form. Simply copy and paste this link into your browser to receive your award:

Each year, the US Commerce Association (USCA) identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Also, a copy of the press release publicizing the selection of Zone USA Corporation has been printed. The USCA hereby grants Zone USA Corporation a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, distribute, and display this press release in any media formats and through any media channels.

An Award Code has been assigned to your company that can be used on our website for quick access to your award information and press release.

Sincerely,
Ashley Carter
Selection Committee Chair
US Commerce Association

Dollar Stores performing well in Current Economic Crisis

Customers that have been hit economically are not the only ones that have profited from Dollar Stores. Dollar Store stocks are outperforming other retail stores, making them a good bet for investors, despite our current recession. More Dollar Store News #9

Dollar Store Holiday and Christmas Season

Many dollar stores and retail shops in general started their Christmas sales early to bring up sales.
We think they beat the numbers of other retailers in getting shoppers even though it is no surprise that we have a down economy and people are reducing drastically their holiday budgets. Almost 70 percent of shoppers say the dismal economy will change very much the way they shop, according to Deloitte’s 23rd Annual Holiday Survey. And if all goes the way it has, Dollar Store and Discount stores are expected to be the most popular destinations of this Holiday and Christmas season. Dollar Store Weekly column #46 by Michael Warshower.
 

Dollar Store News in Indiana

As retailers are getting tight and shutting down stores, dollar stores are still growing in large numbers, filling the gap for many store shoppers looking to save money on everything they can from hardware to toys to cleaning products.
“Dollar stores are one of the few stores right now that are expanding. They typically do well when the economy is not going well,” said Mark Perlstein, a principal at Sitehawk Retail Real Estate Group in Indianapolis. Dollar Store News 8
 

How is the the financial turmoil affecting dollar stores and new store openings ?

These last 2 weeks have shown that the United States will have to drastically make changes in regulating financial institutions, lending policies, and Wall Street firms. In our industry we have been affected in many ways as dollar store shoppers are picking and choosing what they buy very carefully and new dollar store owners that are entering Dollar Store News 7

Couple say dollar store makes sense

Posted on Sun, Nov. 28, 2004

New owners give up other careers, say the market is favorable

LEIGH PRESSLEY SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

GASTONIA – For some folks, this is a time of year to reconnect with family and friends, celebrate with neighbors and reflect on blessings.

For others, it’s an overwhelming stress-fest, consumed by juggling tasks including decorating the house, mailing holiday cards, baking cookies, attending parties and buying presents.

Dollar Store News 2

THE BUCK SHOPS HERE

Dollar stores, once the domain of lower-income households, are reaching out to — and snagging — higher-income customers
Sunday, December 05, 2004
By Ronette King
Business writer
Steve Dooley is a modern sort of guy taking care of himself in a modern retail way.
A part-time graduate student who works two part-time jobs to support himself, he’s a regular shopper at the Family Dollar store on South Carrollton Avenue, cruising the aisles among the college students and working moms.

Dollar Store #3

Police seek suspect in dollar store heist

ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2005

SPRINGDALE — Police are looking for a man who they believe tied up a store clerk Monday evening after robbing a store.

No one was injured in the robbery at the Dollar General Store at 507 E. Emma Ave., Springdale police Cpl. Chris McCarville said Tuesday. The incident occurred at 7:15 p.m.

The clerk said the man walked into the store and went directly to the office in the back of the building, reports state. The man then pulled a knife and demanded money from the clerk.

He tied the clerk up after stealing an undetermined amount of money, McCarville said. She was found a short time later by another employee.

Dollar Store News 1

Dollar Tree plants a new seed: Occasions party-planning store

CHESAPEAKE – Dollar Tree Stores Inc. is testing a new concept called Occasions that specializes in products for parties and events.
Occasions took over a former Dollar Tree store space at Volvo Parkway Shopping Center, just up the road from the retailer’s headquarters, in late September. It’s the only store of its kind, for now. It focuses on party planning – from invitations and decorations to plates, cups and napkins – with extras such as fancy chocolates, candles and toys thrown in.
Occasions isn’t beholden to the “everything’s $1” mantra of its company’s namesake chain. Its prices range from 49 cents for a sheet of scrapbooking paper to $83.95 for a pair of crystal champagne flutes.
“With the price point restriction lifted, we can get a little more creative,” said Tom Mills, the Dollar Tree vice president overseeing the new concept. Occasions carries plastic tabletop items, for example, that would be too expensive for Dollar Tree to sell for $1, Mills said.
Occasions is the first original concept for Dollar Tree since its own founding in 1986 as a spinoff from the toy store chain that preceded it. Dollar Tree, which sells plenty of gift wrap and paper plates in its own 3,232 stores, saw the party arena as an underserved market, Mills said.
A pack of 20 fancy gold-colored plastic plates costs $8.49 at Occasions. Cocktail napkins featuring a margarita glass and the phrase “Livin’ the lime life!” runs $2.29 for eight. A $14.99 price tag hangs on a pi?ata shaped like popular children’s character Dora the Explorer.

Dollar Store News 4

Neilsen Information

Cheap Americans Are Here to Stay

When you see a Bentley parked outside of a 99 Cents Only store, as one Los Angeles resident did recently, it’s pretty easy to see why it will be a long climb back for retailers.

At the high end and the low end of the scale, American consumers are struggling with high unemployment, lower home and stock prices, and historic debt levels. So it’s not surprising that they want a dirt-cheap price these days and they’re finding it at Dollar Tree (DLTR).

The Chesapeake, Virginia-based discounter, which has a market cap of $4.57 billion, sells a range of products including beauty aids, beverages, stationary, and balloons – all priced at $1 or less.

On Wednesday, Dollar Tree reported a 51% bump in its fiscal second-quarter earnings, beating estimates, raising guidance for the full year, and thrilling investors, who moved hard into the company. The stock was up more than 6% in afternoon trading.

In fact, investors clearly think the retailer is a good deal right now. The stock has moved higher, up 14% in the past three months. The question is whether Dollar Tree looks poised to continue doing well even when the tough times pass. As the financial crisis eases, and some kind of normal functioning returns to our economy, will cash-strapped consumers still make a bee-line for a bargain-basement retailer like Dollar Tree?

Analysts believe they will, and they’re telling clients to buy the shares.

“Dollar Tree is moving towards our bull case and from our base case,” wrote Morgan Stanley analyst Mark Wiltamuth in a research note. “We believe the new customers Dollar Tree is capturing in the downturn will continue shopping there in an upturn.”

Wiltamuth rates Dollar Tree “Overweight” with a price target of $52.

Over at Standard & Poor’s, retail analyst Jason Asaeda is similarly bullish. “We see DLTR’s expanded assortment of everyday necessities driving healthy growth in store traffic from new customer gains and increased shopping frequency,” Asaeda wrote.

The analyst lifted his target price to $59 from $50.

For a technician’s perspective, we checked in with Katie Stockton, chief market technician at MKM Partners. She noted that Dollar Tree managed to reach a new all-time high this week, exceeding long-term resistance at its 2007 and 2000 highs.

“There is room for a phase of outperformance versus the S&P Retail Index (RLX), which Dollar Tree stores has lagged year-to-date,” Stockton argues. “The relative strength comparative is in a long-term uptrend, which suggests pullbacks be viewed as buying opportunities from a technical standpoint.”

Former resistance near $46 now can be considered initial support, the technician added.

It’s not hard to understand the attraction of discount chains right now like Dollar Tree, Family Dollar Stores (FDO) or Wal-Mart (WMT). Understandably nervous consumers are looking for bargains, as they save more and work off a big debt load.

Joseph Battipaglia, chief investment officer at Washington Crossing Advisors, notes that the household debt to income ratio is 40% higher than the last consumer-led recession in 1990-91, and the debt to equity ratio for households is also 40% higher.

Little wonder then that consumers are snapping shut their wallets: According to a survey released by Deloitte LLP last month, 32% of Americans said they are saving more, up 10% from a year earlier.

And even as the initial aftershocks of this financial upheaval abate, and high-pitched panic moderates to general unease, the dramatic change in how consumers think about spending and saving won’t quickly revert to the carefree habits of the go-go years.

“[T]he shift in aggregate spending, savings, and attitudes about debt are likely a longer-term, secular shift and not easily reversed,” Battipaglia wrote in a recent research note.

This shift should work to the benefit of discounters like Dollar Tree.

It’s not the only dollar store seeing opportunity in the new era of cheap. Dollar General filed to raise as much as $750 million in an initial public offering as KKR, owner of the discount retailer, plans to take advantage of a rebound in equity markets.

Business At Dollar Stores Booming During Economic Recession
As many try to find their way in a tough economy, some are turning to discount stores for relief. Well that relief is transferring into multi-million dollar profits for a national dollar store. WFMZ’s Dwayne Parker has the story.
>> REPORTER: Kim Silcox is doing her back-to- school shopping for her son at the dollar store.
>> KIM SILCOX: Because with the way the economy is right now you got to stretch your dollar as far as you can.
>> REPORTER: Kim is one of many customers increasing the popularity of dollar stores in a tough economy. The Dollar Tree just announced an almost 12% increase in2nd quartersales that translates into a consolidated net sales total of $1.22 billion dollars.
>> SHELLE DAVIS: At Dollar Tree we believe we have a good mix of things people need which are your basic consumable stable items, but in a recovering economy, in a down economy or a booming economy people still want to celebrate life and who doesn’t like to save money?
>> REPORTER: Now the Dollar Tree says its leading selling categories are No. 1 Health and Beauty. No. 2 cleaning products No. 3 Party Supplies. And No. 4 Food.
>> WENDY LIEBMANN: Dollar stores take a bite out of Wal Mart, especially in communities where they both live together-kind of their entry price point-I go to the dollar store first and then I fill out when I go to Wal- Mart.
>> ERIC SOLA: Your dollar goes far at the dollar store.
>> REPORTER: Dollar Tree representatives also attribute their multi-million dollar profits to in-store technology provides detailed information of products soled in its over 3,500 stores, as well as their efficiency in keeping products stocked. And as for Kim, her bill came to just over $30 dollars.
>> KIM SILOX: More for your money basically, more for your money.
>> REPORTER: With the money she saved, she said she’d treat her son to some ice cream. Saving money and reaping the rewards.

Ten tips for back-to-school shopping on a budget

The National Retail Foundation says that the average family with kids in grades K through 12 will spend $548.72 on school merchandise this year, including clothing, shoes, school supplies, and electronics.

There are some strategies that parents can use to keep their school supply expenses within their budget. Here are some suggestions:


1. Watch the sales carefully. Discount and office supply stores often sell school supplies at a loss to get you in the door. Last year, it wasn’t unusual to find rulers for one cent, for instance.

2. Reuse school supplies from last year whenever possible. Just because it’s a new school year doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a new backpack, lunch box, ruler, or scissors if last year’s is in good shape. The same thing applies to shoes and school uniforms – don’t assume you have to start the new year with all new apparel.

3. Check prices online. From school uniforms to shoes to calculators and more, you can find school supplies of all kinds online, frequently shipped free and sometimes without sales tax.

4. Investigate sources of gently-used school uniforms. Goodwill Stores often have donated uniforms in good shape. Consider uniforms handed down from older siblings or from neighbors. Check out garage sales.

5. Give your teenager a budget and let him decide how to best spend it. He may be willing to wear shoes from Payless or Kmart in return for being able to buy two pairs of trendy jeans. Discourage fad clothing that may be costly to replace when it’s no longer in style.

6. Shop at dollar stores. You may find some items substantially cheaper at a dollar store. Most dollar stores have a good selection of pens, pencils, markers, and folders.

7. Keep a copy of your child’s supply list with you. Mark off what you’ve already bought so you don’t buy duplicates, and you’ll have a record of what you still need to buy if you come across a sale.

8. Don’t procrastinate too long. The selection of school supplies at the discount stores will be picked over before school starts, and you may end up having to pay more elsewhere.

9. Consider off-brands. Unless your school specifies the brand of glue or crayons your child requires, you may find store brands or lesser-known brands to be substantially cheaper than what you usually buy.

10. Sign up online for newsletters for your favorite retailers. They often send subscriber-only coupons you can use online or in store for additional savings or private sales events.


Back-to-school can be an expensive time, but with a little planning, you’ll be able to get everything you need within your family’s budget.

Cutting college costs

College is expensive enough these days. The cost of tuition seems to go up each year. Fighting rising tuition costs is like fighting higher taxes; it is an art form that’s usually left to the professionals. Furthermore, on top of it all come the extra costs associated with education: the books, supplies and transportation. These costs are rising each year also. Usually college students are on tight budgets, and these extra costs cannot be tolerated. So, here are some ways to skirt those costs.

Books are a college student’s highest cost aside tuition. New books range from $100 – $300 for each class. A full time student will take 3 to 4 classes at a time. Do the math. You’ll find that a semester’s worth of books could top $1,200 or more. There are a few ways to bring this cost to its knees. Many students are buying used books from others who’ve taken the courses before. Buying used saves at least half if not more. It can sometimes be aggravating, though, when trying to read through someone’s highlighted passages or coffee stains. Another way to get books at cut-rate pricing is to use an online media source called Half.com.

Half.com is associated with Ebay, but is far more user friendly. Half.com is a conglomeration of media sellers (books, movies and music). On Half, you can find the exact book you need via the ISBN number (that’s the number under the bar code), author or title. You are able to choose the quality of the item (brand new, like new, very good, good and acceptable). For books with brand new quality, students will save at least 50% from bookstore prices. For books with acceptable quality that are worn and marked inside, students can expect to pay 10 cents on the dollar or less. Students are also able to choose the quality of the seller. Sellers earn a rating based on buyer reviews and number of items sold. This is done to inspire confidence that buyers will receive their books on time and in the agreed upon condition. Half.com is an incredible source for savings.

The frenzy of buying school supplies is upon us. Ads are brightly colored to get people in the stores and buying backpacks, binders, paper, pens, agendas, portfolios, notebooks, book covers, file keepers, staples, report covers and more. This expense can add up fast. You can’t avoid the need for these items, but you can duck the exorbitant price tags. First, go to the Dollar Store. Savings from the Dollar Store is compounded when it comes to paper goods. That is where the consumer saves the most money. Second, go to Good Will. Besides grandpa’s checkered golf pants, you may find great deals on the occasional binder or folio. Also, try shopping off-season and see what you can pick up on clearance racks in the Targets and K-marts. Sometimes, there’s a school-sponsored shopping event that may prove helpful. Furthermore, check online shopping sources like Rebates4All.com in which students can find a sale plus get an automatic rebate too.

Finally, there’s the cost of transportation. It is possible to use up to a gallon of gas a day just going to school and back. Plus there’s the added upkeep, maintenance, and wear on your vehicle. Put some thought into carpooling. Carpooling also provides a forum where students help each other in various subjects on the way to school. Furthermore, riding the bus will help the student cut transportation costs. This also provides an atmosphere in which the student can read, study or get organized on the way to class. Another point of view for saving money on transportation cost is to shop online for books and school supplies. Not only does this cut your costs, it helps the environment too.

The way things are, prices will only go up. If you can find away around this phenomenon, you’ll be ahead of the game with money in your pocket, though tuition tries to stab at that. Nonetheless, students can stay on their budgets by saving on ancillary college costs. Book savings comes via used sales or online media sources. Students can save up to 90% or more this way. School supply costs can be minimized with off-season purchases, Dollar Store shopping or the occasional Good Will find. And the transportation alternatives not only provide for cost savings, but for class prep which has a value all its own.

Tips for back to school

August is here and it is that time again folks: Back to School!! This is the time where families are purchasing new clothes and supplies and teachers are finalizing their syllabus and brainstorming ideas for the school year. This month can be especially stressful when it boils down to being cost efficient in the pursuit of being ready to begin the 2009-2010 school year.


The need for school supplies ranks high on the list for teachers, parents, and students alike. There are quite a few ways to save your pennies as summer comes to a close. For example, The Dollar Store is a great for stocking up on supplies. Pens, pencils, highlighters, notebook paper, and other supplies are available for purchase. Stores such as Target, Walmart, and Office Max generally will have a period of time when school supplies are at their lowest.

The Orlando Sentinel posted a list of events in the Orlando area that offer free shots, school supply give aways, and more. See the link below for more specifics:

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_education_edblog/2009/07/a-roundup-of-area-backtoschool-events.html

Outside of the supplies, new clothes are staples for the start of a school year. However, the lure of a stylish new look can be punishment to the wallet. There are ways to fashion your wardrobe without going bankrupt. If stores such as Hollister or Abercrombie are outside of your budget, look to establishments like Kohl’s and Old Navy for your trendy needs. Associated Content has put together more tips for all your back to school needs (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/887895/back_to_school_clothing_tips_for_keeping.html).

Start this school year off right and save money while looking your best and stocking up on supplies to succeed in the classroom!
 

HOUSTON (KTRK) — While most retailers are suffering their worst downturn in 20 years, dollar stores are seeing record profits.

[SUPERSAVER BLOG: Learn daily ways to save cash ]

Many believe it’s because higher-income shoppers who weren’t dollar store fans before are checking them out now.

ABC13 Super Saver and single mom, Erin Libranda has spent years shopping for bargains

But, now that saving is “chic,” she’s noticing a new trend: first-time dollar-store shoppers who are surprised by what they find.

Erin went to three different Houston dollar stores to find what she considered “surprise” deals.

Her first stop was the 99 Cents Only store, where everything is under a dollar, including a 100% silk tie, with the tag still on it from the original store, as well as little boy’s swim trunks.

“All of the cards are 69 cents, all of the bags are 79 cents,” Libranda said. “There are high-quality bags, normally $4 to $5 in the stores.”

Her next stop is Dollar General. But, not everything there is a dollar. And Erin found some of the prices to be high; however, she did find some good deals, like a pool cover-up for $4.50, among other items.

Her final stop was Family Dollar, where she found deals on home décor, like a king size comforter set for $40, paintings for $10, and a lamp for $12.

In all, three different dollar stores, each hoping their deals will keep the first-timers coming.

HOUSTON (KTRK) — While most retailers are suffering their worst downturn in 20 years, dollar stores are seeing record profits.

[SUPERSAVER BLOG: Learn daily ways to save cash ]

Many believe it’s because higher-income shoppers who weren’t dollar store fans before are checking them out now.

ABC13 Super Saver and single mom, Erin Libranda has spent years shopping for bargains

But, now that saving is “chic,” she’s noticing a new trend: first-time dollar-store shoppers who are surprised by what they find.

Erin went to three different Houston dollar stores to find what she considered “surprise” deals.

Her first stop was the 99 Cents Only store, where everything is under a dollar, including a 100% silk tie, with the tag still on it from the original store, as well as little boy’s swim trunks.

“All of the cards are 69 cents, all of the bags are 79 cents,” Libranda said. “There are high-quality bags, normally $4 to $5 in the stores.”

Her next stop is Dollar General. But, not everything there is a dollar. And Erin found some of the prices to be high; however, she did find some good deals, like a pool cover-up for $4.50, among other items.

Her final stop was Family Dollar, where she found deals on home décor, like a king size comforter set for $40, paintings for $10, and a lamp for $12.

In all, three different dollar stores, each hoping their deals will keep the first-timers coming.

HOUSTON (KTRK) — While most retailers are suffering their worst downturn in 20 years, dollar stores are seeing record profits.

[SUPERSAVER BLOG: Learn daily ways to save cash ]

Many believe it’s because higher-income shoppers who weren’t dollar store fans before are checking them out now.

ABC13 Super Saver and single mom, Erin Libranda has spent years shopping for bargains

But, now that saving is “chic,” she’s noticing a new trend: first-time dollar-store shoppers who are surprised by what they find.

Erin went to three different Houston dollar stores to find what she considered “surprise” deals.

Her first stop was the 99 Cents Only store, where everything is under a dollar, including a 100% silk tie, with the tag still on it from the original store, as well as little boy’s swim trunks.

“All of the cards are 69 cents, all of the bags are 79 cents,” Libranda said. “There are high-quality bags, normally $4 to $5 in the stores.”

Her next stop is Dollar General. But, not everything there is a dollar. And Erin found some of the prices to be high; however, she did find some good deals, like a pool cover-up for $4.50, among other items.

Her final stop was Family Dollar, where she found deals on home décor, like a king size comforter set for $40, paintings for $10, and a lamp for $12.

In all, three different dollar stores, each hoping their deals will keep the first-timers coming.

Yes, Family Dollar Profits Jumps again 33%

NEW YORK (Dow Jones) — Discounter Family Dollar Stores Inc. said Wednesday that its fiscal second-quarter profit rose 33%, aided by shoppers seeking bargains in the economic downturn.

The company also gave third-quarter and full-year profit forecasts that exceeded Wall Street expectations.

Executives said on a conference call that Family Dollar has seen more trips and higher average purchases from its core low income customers but also has won additional visits from more middle income customers. The company has expanded its product assortment, adding more traffic-driving consumable items while paring back on discretionary products as apparel sales continued to be soft. It also has made stores reduce clutter to make it easier to shop.

“The dollar store businesses continue to outperform in the weak economy,” said Deutsche Bank analyst Mike Baker.

Discounters including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have outperformed the other industry segments with shoppers cutting back on non-essential items, trading down and seeking value on basic items, analysts have said.

Net income rose to $84.1 million, or 60 cents a share, from $63.3 million, or 45 cents, a year earlier. Sales in the quarter ended Feb. 28 rose 8.7% to $1.99 billion.

Comparable-store sales climbed 6.4% as the company increased, for the third straight quarter, customer traffic and the amount shoppers spent on each average transaction. The discounter, which operates more than 6,600 stores in 44 states, said food and other consumable items led the demand increase.

Second-quarter gross profit margin widened to 33.7% from 32.7% after the company lowered seasonal discounts and reduced inventory theft and freight expenses.

Family Dollar forecast full-year per-share profit of $1.90 to $2 with sales up 5% to 7% and sales at stores open at least a year increasing 3% to 5%. It sees third-quarter earnings of 54 cents to 58 cents a share.

Analysts polled by FactSet Research estimated, on average, per-share profit of 60 cents in the second quarter, 50 cents in the third quarter and $1.89 for the year.

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