MATTHEWS, N.C. — Saying its customers were “severely strapped for cash,” Family Dollar Stores here last week said sales were lower than expected and net income fell by 4.1% during its fiscal second quarter, which ended Dec. 1. The results — as well as a gloomy near-term forecast — provided further indications that lower-income consumers are being hit exceptionally hard by the current economic slowdown. “When we first outlined our expectations for fiscal 2008 a few months ago, we suggested ...

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