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Even dollar stores find it hard to make a buck

January 3, 2013: 2:01 PM ET

Retailers have had a rough time lately, what with Superstorm Sandy, a sluggish economy and overall weak holiday sales.

You'd think dollar stores would be the exception. Not today.

Family Dollar missed earnings-per-share estimates by 6 cents a share and said profits the current quarter and full year would come in below forecasts. The company, which sells everything from baby care to home goods, blamed a worsening macro environment for ratcheting down its expectations.

That's not great news for a company that already offers steep discounts. Shares of Family Dollar (FDO) sank as much as 14%, dragging other dollar stores down with it.

Shares of Dollar General (DG) and Dollar Tree (DLTR) also took a hit, although they managed to claw back from steeper declines.

Still, the overall weakness gave StockTwits traders plenty to chat about.

$FDO. surprised? did $DG not tell us consumer was fatigued and scared plus warn on price war? shift to consumables = lower margin model

They did tell us. But that was back in October. So how bad did it have to get for them to double down on that dour outlook?

Geez, when dollar stores say "customers faced increasing financial uncertainty", what does that say about our economy? $FDO

Exactly! It certainly doesn't bode well, in my opinion, if you can't get consumers to spend money at a dollar store. Although Family Dollar may be facing other issues as well.

$FDO, stores are always in dissary, almost impossible to fund anything. No wonder why earnings down!

I can't say whether that's true or not since I haven't been in a Family Dollar store lately. But I can say that would be a big detractor for many shoppers. If you can't find what you're looking for, you may wind up going elsewhere.

$FDO major renovations to stores increasing cooler space by 70%

Well there you have it. Things may be looking up for Family Dollar, as long as it can weather the near-term storm of economic uncertainty.

$FDO $MLNX Its a fools game trying to play earnings reports. Sure its a rush, but its a pure gamble. Thats why I vowed to never do em again.

And that may be the best lesson of all.

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Catherine Tymkiw
Catherine Tymkiw
News Editor CNNMoney

Catherine Tymkiw is a news editor at CNNMoney where she helps oversee breaking news coverage and futures planning. Previously, she was the investing editor. Prior to joining CNNMoney, she was the online editor at Crain's New York Business and has nearly two decades of reporting and editing experience. She tweets @ctymkiwcnn

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