Dollar Tree CEO Gary Philbin on meeting demand during the coronavirus outbreak

let's bring in Dollar Tree CEO Gary

Philbin this morning talk about Gary

this unprecedented shift of household

especially meal budgets but all kinds of

household budgets moving away from out

of home to grocery it's good to have you

with us thanks for the time today thank

you thanks for having me on today I we

can only imagine the volume increases

you've seen but can you talk about

overall what this past couple of weeks

have looked like and are you beginning

to see any easing in the shortages of

some key either disinfecting supplies or

paper supplies that we're all familiar

with by now

well good questions and thank you Carl

and let me just start off by first shout

out to our teams at Dollar Tree and

Family Dollar associates that have

really risen to the occasion on

something that is hard to plan for and

as we've really managed this thing in

real time have responded in great ways

in their communities with their

neighbors and I think what you've called

out on the essential size of the

business you know we use words like

unprecedented but clearly the customer

was shocked very quickly to get the

things that she needs into her home to

protect clean hand sanitizer and now

when you think of all the kids in a

school there's at least 10 more mills

being done at home than there were

before so the impact the food business

as well I would say this our art supply

chain has been stressed clearly as our

truck show to stores we probably have

enough for a day or a day and a half but

more is coming and we've called out we

have a billion dollars and pipeline

somewhere our vendor partners have

ramped up it's coming it's just that's

not going to be enough for the next few

weeks but there is enough coming overall

and so we're working very hard with our

supply chain and our distribution

centers we have 24 around the country

working seven days a week to get product

to the stores I don't want to make your

your peak traffic hours any busier than

they are but what advice do you give to

shoppers who want to know when the best

time is to arrive at the store and

hopefully just come in just after

delivery of certain categories well good

point we did call out for our senior

population for anybody else at risk the

first hour we would like to dedicate to

those folks in kudos to folks who have

responded to that I think as folks are

shopping this and the levels on shelf

are going to get better and better as we

go through this I was in a store last

week in our customer who seemed to be a

bit in a panic

you know our store manager said listen

we have two that you can take today we

have more coming next week on the truck

I see that already in just that

conversation reduce the angst of that

particular customer so I think as our

levels across the country and we don't

won't be the only retailer that sees an

influx of more goods people will have

confidence that they can go and shop any

day of the week and more times but this

will be a building process over the next

several weeks

Gary Jim Gary I'm a little confused and

perplexed when you were one last Dollar

Tree was really good Family Dollar not

that good the last week of March you

were - nineteen point four four Dollar

Tree a Family Dollar starting to do

better there's other stores they comp

solid eight point eight percent what

went wrong at core Dollar Tree because

like Dollar General reported some pretty

good numbers in - nineteen point four is

not like you well keep in mind Jim we

really caught on to a positive cop on

the quarter which was a seven plus comp

for a Dollar Tree what we called out was

a change in foot traffic that we saw in

the last seven days that we want to make

sure he once saw so I don't think

anything was wrong I think what we saw

the customer respond to at Dollar Tree

was we have those essential items she

needs paper towels cleaning hand

sanitizer we certainly saw that spike

that got us to that plus seven percent I

think that reduction in traffic is

really two things one of it with that

kind of spike in demand we just ran out

in some stores and then I think I think

secondly appropriately customers aren't

taking this shelter-in-place seriously

and that's some of the reduction in foot

traffic I think a family dollar we have

a broader

expanse of consumables that people need

we have more in store we have more in

the supply chain and that's some of the

difference between the banners right now

and listen people are very focused and

taking care of their families we have a

holiday coming up Easter I think folks

are not focused on that like they

typically would and that's some of what

Dollar Tree is seeing right now but I

would say this you know we're in

uncharted waters here but unconvinced

Dollar Tree has always responded when

we've had other events and effects on

our business we know that we sell

everything for a dollar our customers

know that and they'll be back as soon as

they get out of shelter-in-place orders

when the right time comes around but I

think just to follow up Gary at Sarah on

that point about some of the negative

numbers in this report can you give us

more color on what people are actually

spending on are they buying anything

except for absolutely essential goods

like sanitizers or foods are all

discretionary items sort of falling at

this point no I think it's it's a good

point obviously people are very focused

on the essentials as they as they should

be with what they have to stretch their

budgets to but it's interesting

customers with kids at home are much

more buying anything related to

education which we have a Dollar Tree

our craft section is going through the

roof at Dollar Tree as folks are trying

to find ways of entertaining same thing

at Family Dollar in addition at Family

Dollar we have lots of items you can go

outdoors with somebody my sense is as

families get together you know they're

gathering around and grilling out when

possible and using it the grills and

chairs to keep their social distancing

outdoors so people are navigating this

in different ways there are how much

more they have to stretch their budget

but I think as we go through this

they're finding the right way to

maintain their neighbors within some

social distance their families are out

they stay at home so you know the shock

right now is to the customer I don't the

gang of us thought that began March we'd

be here I think folks are navigating the


reality and I think over time folks will

figure out how they continue to do the

things that create fam both family and

neighbor events at the right social