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VOL. 118 | NO. 22 | Friday, February 6, 2004

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Family Dollar Expands in Memphis

Low-cost retailer to open three new stores by summer


The Daily News

With 30 stores in the Memphis area, Charlotte, N.C.-based Family Dollar Stores Inc. already has a commanding presence in Memphis. But the companys aggressive expansion plans mean its foothold in the city continues to grow.

According to The Daily News Public Records Database, building permits were filed last week for two new Family Dollar locations. One permit totaled $525,000 for a store at 2980 Summer Ave., and the second, $535,810 for a store at 2743 N. Watkins St.

Family Dollar representatives confirmed plans for the two new stores, adding that a third store also will open in Memphis this summer. That stores location is undisclosed at this time.

Weve got a number of stores in the Memphis area planned, but until we finalize all the arrangements, we dont like to give out the details, said George Mahoney, executive vice president of the company.

New stores. Frank Watson, who represents the seller of the land at 2980 Summer Ave., said Family Dollar has a contract on the property.

They have asked the city for a permit to put a Family Dollar there, he said of the tract that formerly housed Eubanks Lumber Co. Were just waiting on the city.

Watson said the land still contains structures used by the lumber company that would be demolished to make way for the new store.

Mahoney said all three planned stores could be open by summer.

National growth. The companys expansion in Memphis goes along with Family Dollars growth plans nationwide.

In the four-week period ended Jan. 31, the chain opened 44 stores, including two in Tennessee. That brings the total number of stores operated by the company to 5,139 in 43 states.

Aggressive expansion. Family Dollar hasnt tread lightly when it comes to expansion, adding nearly 2,000 stores in the last five years. During the fiscal year ended Aug. 30, 2003, Family Dollar opened 475 new stores and closed 64 stores, bringing its total number to 5,027. The company plans to add 565 stores and close 60 stores this fiscal year, which ends Aug. 28.

Weve been expanding for quite a few years very aggressively from our base here in North Carolina, Mahoney said. What is driving that growth is consumer acceptance, I think, of what we offer, which is a combination of convenience we call ourselves a neighborhood convenience discount store and the fact that our stores are relatively small.

We can locate them in the neighborhoods of our customers.

Staying close to the customer. Its that neighborhood-store feel that has led Family Dollar to cluster its stores, sometimes in close proximity to one another. While the proposed store at 2980 Summer Ave. is the first in the 38112 ZIP code, its just a mile from the companys store at 3522 Summer near Highland Avenue. Four other stores are located within about 3 miles of the site.

The new store at 2743 N. Watkins will be the fifth in the 38127 ZIP.

Targeted clientele. Although Mahoney declined to say whether any stores would be demolished in Memphis to make way for the new stores, he did say clustering stores is part of the companys marketing aim.

Our stores are relatively small stores, he said of the typical 6,500 square feet to 8,000 square feet of selling space in each structure. We dont need a large trade area to draw from. We like to locate them in the neighborhoods of our customers, so if theres another neighborhood just down the street 2 or 3 miles its an efficient way to operate.

Family Dollar, which caters to low- and lower middle-income families, records an average transaction of just over $8, Mahoney said. The average store has annual sales of $1 million.

People are going to recognize the Family Dollar name, so we dont have to advertise when we cluster stores, Mahoney said. Most of our trade comes from within just a few miles of the store, so advertising is not as important when people are going to be driving by or walking by the store every day in their neighborhoods or on a regular basis.


PROPERTY SALES 56 94 12,852
MORTGAGES 23 50 8,053
BUILDING PERMITS 285 422 30,356
BANKRUPTCIES 23 67 6,131