Family Dollar, which operates over 7,000 stores nationwide, said it plans to open 450 – 500 new stores in fiscal 2012. The Charlotte, NC-based company posted a strong profit in its most recent quarter and cited high demand for food and other essentials as big factors in both its quarterly results and future growth plans.

Analysts say that dollar stores like Family Dollar, Dollar Tree and Dollar General have been taking customers from Wal-Mart by offering name-brand items at lower prices, even though customers may pay more per ounce than they would when buying larger packs at major chain stores.

Wal-Mart has posted nine consecutive quarters of declining same-store sales and is fighting to win back customers lost to dollar and discount stores.