Discount retailer Family Dollar Stores ended 2008 as the S&P 500's best performing stock.
Shares soared 27% since January 2nd of this year – and just last week Barron's wrote Family Dollar Stores “is a retailer in excellent financial condition.”
How did this seller of discount home goods, apparel and accessories buck the trend?
According to CEO Howard Levine, it’s because his father’s business is in his blood.
“We don't say we're recession proof. But I think we are somewhat recession resistant. The nature of our business model is such that what we're selling is things that people need and use," Levine tells Fast Money.
Stores are stocked with essentials like toilet paper, deodorant and detergent. And within the past few years, the company added food like bread, milk and eggs.
All the while, the focus stays on consumables and offering customers the lowest possible price. To Levine, it is a system that works.
"At the end of the day we provide a mix of great value and convenience," he said.
As the year draws to a close, it probably comes as no surprise that sales are up. And in case you’re wondering, Family Dollar plans to add 200 new stores in 2009.
"We think 2009 is going to be very difficult but our focus will be more of the same," adds Levine.
You can find our interview with Howard Levine at the end of the Word on the Street video.