Major Discount Retailer Announces Plans to Close Almost 1,000 Stores

The discount retail industry faced a significant setback on Wednesday as Dollar Tree, the parent company of Family Dollar, announced plans to close nearly 1,000 stores after missing quarterly sales and profit expectations.

The Chesapeake, Virginia-based company’s shares dropped 8% in premarket trading.

According to Dollar Tree’s CEO, Richard Dreiling, “We are taking the necessary steps to address the challenges we face and position our company for long-term success. This includes optimizing our store portfolio by closing underperforming locations.”

The company will shutter approximately 600 Family Dollar stores in the first half of fiscal 2024, with an additional 370 closures planned over the next few years as their leases expire.

The struggles faced by Dollar Tree and its subsidiary, Family Dollar, are emblematic of the broader challenges confronting the discount retail sector.

As consumers grapple with inflation and economic uncertainty, they are shifting their spending toward essential, lower-margin items and away from higher-margin discretionary products. This trend has put immense pressure on dollar stores, which have traditionally relied on a mix of both essential and discretionary items to drive profits.

Compounding these difficulties is the fierce competition from retail giants like Walmart and online platforms such as China’s Temu. These rivals have the scale and resources to offer competitive prices and a wide selection of products, making it harder for smaller discount chains to differentiate themselves and attract customers.

The financial impact of Dollar Tree’s struggles was evident in its fourth-quarter results. The company reported a net loss of $1.71 billion, a stark contrast to the $452.2 million profit it posted a year earlier.

This loss was largely attributed to a $594.4 million charge related to its portfolio optimization review, a $1.07 billion goodwill impairment charge, and $950 million in other asset impairment charges.

Looking ahead, Dollar Tree’s full-year sales forecast of $31 billion to $32 billion fell short of analysts’ expectations, suggesting that the company’s challenges are likely to persist in the near term.

As the discount retail landscape continues to evolve, it will be critical for Dollar Tree and its peers to adapt their strategies and find ways to remain competitive in an increasingly difficult market.