GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Dollar General here intends to slow new store growth and focus on improving its existing fleet through development of private label, more sophisticated pricing and merchandising strategies, and efforts toward a stronger brand image and a consistent store experience, its new chief executive officer said. Rick Dreiling, the former Safeway executive who joined Dollar General after it was acquired by Kravis Kohlberg Roberts, in a conference call Friday said Dollar General in the recent past was guilty of “aggressive store expansion without operating discipline” and a “merchandising strategy not supported by sufficient research and analysis.” He outlined four operating priorities to drive profits and growth over the long term, while reducing the retailer’s typical store growth to about new 200 stores in fiscal 2008, along with 400 store renovations. Sales of $2.56 billion in the fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 1, increased by 0.4% compared with the same period a year ago, while net income grew 10.6% to $55.4 million. For the fiscal year, Dollar General reported a loss of $12.8 million on sales of $9.5 billion.
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