By and  on December 9, 2008

David Alexander, former president and chief operating officer of Family Dollar Stores Inc., has joined Citi Trends Inc. as president and chief operating officer. Alexander will oversee operations, distribution, warehousing and real estate for the Savannah, Ga.-based value-priced urban apparel retailer. He will report to Ed Anderson, chairman and chief executive officer. A 30-year retail veteran, Alexander spent 10 years with Family Dollar Stores. He was also ceo of PCA, which operates photography studios in Wal-Mart stores. For the last year, he has been a consultant at Apax Partners, a private equity firm. The post of president has been vacant at Citi Trends since April when George Bellino retired. The chief operating officer position is new. The 356-unit chain said last month that in the third quarter ended Nov. 1, it posted a smaller-than-expected loss due to lower markdowns and higher gross margins, but it trimmed guidance for the remainder of the year. For the three months ended Nov. 1, Citi Trends’ net loss was $687,000, or 5 cents a diluted share, versus the consensus estimate of a 10-cent loss. In last year’s quarter, the loss was $513,000, or 4 cents. Net sales rose 5.4 percent to $104.9 million as comparable-store sales fell 4.2 percent. Gross margin improved to 36.9 percent of sales from 34.7 percent in last year’s quarter. “We clearly are now in a period of unprecedented economic difficulty and uncertainty,” Anderson said. “However, I believe Citi Trends is well situated to withstand these economic headwinds and to continue to prosper in this environment.” Despite a “tough sales quarter,” Anderson said the company delivered a smaller loss than expected because expenses were tightly managed. Citi Trends expects full-year EPS of between 95 cents and $1.05, down from its previous guidance of $1.10 to $1.15 a share. Its expectation for comps was trimmed to a decrease of 3 to 6 percent from an increase of 1 to 2 percent.

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