Family Dollar Stores reported that net sales for the second quarter ended February 28, 2009, increased 8.7 percent to approximately $1.992 billion compared with $1.833 billion for the second quarter ended March 1, 2008. Family Dollar’s comparable store sales for the quarter increased 6.4 percent.
Even though retail sales beat analysts’ expectations for two months (January and February) in a row, sales and comparables at most individual stores continue to show negative results.
The lesson: Consumers are value shopping these days. I am but one example. I routinely stop by the dollar store when I have a minute just to see what bargains I might pick up. And one dollar store purchase — greeting cards — has become a regular one for me. I no longer pay $2, $3, $4 for greeting cards. I get mine at the dollar store for either 50 cents or $1 apiece.
I noticed one day recently that the dollar store had name-brand liquid dish detergent in a size not available at the grocery store. The price: 90 cents. This may seem insignificant, but when you take a closer look, if a consumer is watching her pennies — maybe she got laid off or is waiting for a late paycheck — then all savings add up. A smaller bottle of detergent for less money, perhaps, will see her through until that paycheck shows up.
What values are in your store? Are they visible? Do your shoppers know they are there? Bear in mind that, just as your sales are off, so may be the income of your shoppers. Offer any value you can.