Dollar Tree raises prices after Walmart and Target



Image copyright Reuters Image caption Dollar Tree stock rose nearly 2% in after-hours trading

The dollar store chain Dollar Tree will hike prices by about 5% later this year, following similar moves by the large retailers Walmart and Target.

The new prices are expected to be introduced at the end of April 2019.

In a statement, Dollar Tree said the increase was one of several initiatives under way to improve its profitability.

Both Walmart and Target increased prices in 2017.

There is no word yet on how many shelves will be affected or the exact number of stores affected.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Dollar Tree stock rose slightly after announcing the news

Dollar Tree, based in Franklin, Tennessee, is the second-largest dollar store chain after Walmart.

It operates 4,800 stores in 42 states and four countries, and its fourth-quarter earnings came in higher than expected on Thursday.

The company’s earnings came in at $2.13 per share, against the $1.83 per share expected by analysts, while sales rose 12% to $5.86bn.

“Our first quarter performance reflects a return to positive customer traffic and increased strength in our merchandise categories, which provides us with good momentum heading into the back half of the year,” said Dollar Tree CEO Bob Sasser.

Sticker shock

In July, Walmart announced it was raising the cost of popular items such as toilet paper by an average of 16 cents.

Walmart announced it was raising the cost of popular items such as toilet paper by an average of 16 cents

It also reduced the number of products available on sale, meaning less profit in those areas.

The price of diapers has also increased significantly in recent years. Last November, Walmart’s 7-ounce Tampax box went up by about 20 cents.

Target announced last year that it would be raising the price of a 7-ounce pack of 24 diapers, tampons and sanitary napkins by about 30 cents.

Earlier this week, chief executive Kevin Mansell of the department store Kohl’s, which is battling traffic problems amid a shift towards online shopping, noted that “food prices are climbing and grocers are raising their own prices”.

The retail average price of food in the US is now $4.57 per person, according to a report in the New York Times.

A senior adviser to President Donald Trump, Larry Kudlow, said last month that he was not worried about the cost of food rising.

He said “normal” increases were “super small”, and that the price of food is less than a fifth of what it was in the 1970s.

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