Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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July 5, 2014

Family Dollar closing stores July 21 in Bullard, Troup, as company finds ways to deal with sagging sales

BULLARD — Bullard's Family Dollar store will close its doors July 21, just one of many nationwide being shuttered for underperformance, officials say.

“This was not a regional thing, but a (nationwide) closing,” observed Bullard City Manager Larry Morgan. “They were stores that were not producing – I have no idea how much business this Family Dollar did, but I do know there were cars in the lot there, and they were busy.”

The chain was founded in 1959 in Charlotte, North Carolina, by entrepreneur Leon Levine, who wanted “to be (the) best small-format convenience and value retailer serving the needs of families in our neighborhoods,” offering a variety of high-quality, good value merchandise at low cost, according to the corporate website.

“This concept for a self-serve, cash-and-carry neighborhood discount store in low-to-middle income neighborhoods proved so successful that today Family Dollar is a chain with (more than) 8,000 stores from Maine to California,” the website states.

However, in recent years, due to a weakened economy, Family Dollar began looking at ways to reverse sagging sales and earning, and announced the closing of an estimated 370 underperforming stores, according to an April 10 story by the Associated Press.

The company said these closings and associated job cuts should reduce annual operating expenses by $40 million to $45 million, starting with the 2014 fiscal third quarter, AP reported.

Family Dollar chairman and CEO Howard Levine said the company is reviewing its business to increase operational efficiencies and boost its financial performance, and that price cuts, store closings and job eliminations are part of immediate actions to increase performance, the report added.

As the Bullard store places inventory on sale to help clear out merchandise by the July 21 deadline, one thing is certain in Morgan's mind: The economic impact of Family Dollar's closing won't be as great as the impact of losing a business that offered convenience of shopping.

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