family dollar

The fate of two discount chain stores in the county is uncertain, as Family Dollar stores recently announced it will close nearly 400 stores before the end of the year.

According to Family Dollar investor and media relations manager Kayleigh Painter, the list of the closing stores has yet to be released, therefore she is unable to say if the local stores in the Huntingdon Plaza in Smithfield Township and on East Shirley Street in Mount Union Borough will remain open.

“We have not shared a listing of stores that will, or may, close,” said Painter.

Painter told The Daily News larger media sources have not shared all of the details of the discount chain’s plans, noting that the closures only one piece of the puzzle, as the Family Dollar chain is owned by Dollar Tree.

“In the fiscal year 2019, Family Dollar real estate initiatives include 1,000 store renovations, 200 re-banners of Family Dollar stores to Dollar Tree, and closing as many as 390 Family Dollar stores. We also plan to open 550 new stores, with 350 Dollar Tree and 200 Family Dollar,” said Painter.

The Family Dollar Corp. was purchased by Dollar Tree in 2015. According to a press release issued by Family Dollar, Dollar Tree has paid down significant debt related to the merger of the two companies.

“Since the merger, we have repaid $4.3 billion of debt, captured significant synergies in both brands, and fully integrated most systems, functions and departments across banners,” said Gary Philbin, president and CEO. “By July, we will complete the most important phase: unifying our headquarters under one roof in Virginia. With these improvements behind us, coupled with an investment grade debt rating and expected operating cash flow, before capital expenditures, of approximately $2.0 billion in 2019, we are in an ideal spot to accelerate our initiatives to position the Family Dollar and Dollar Tree banners for success.”

According to the release, the closing of the 390 stores is a more aggressive schedule than previous years when stores were closing at a rate of roughly 75 per year.

“We moved aggressively in the fourth quarter to optimize Family Dollar’s performance, including closing 84 stores and announcing plans to renovate at least 1,000 stores in 2019. The renovated stores will include new $1 Dollar Tree merchandise sections. Approximately 200 Family Dollar stores will be re-bannered to Dollar Tree, and we plan to close as many as 390 Family Dollar stores this year,” said Philbin.

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