An affordable retail staple in hundreds of low- and middle-income neighborhoods plans to begin alcohol sales at about 1,000 stores across the U.S.
Dollar Tree, the company that bought Family Dollar in 2015, last week announced plans to expand alcohol sales at Family Dollar locations, according to a news release. Family Dollar, which has more than 8,000 locations nationwide, began introducing adult beverage sales at 45 stores in the first quarter.
The plans are part of a broader company “store optimization” to improve performance that also includes expanding freezers and coolers in 400 Family Dollar stores and rebranding 200 Family Dollar stores to the Dollar Tree brand.
This strategic move comes as the company, which is based in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, recently announced plans to close up to 390 Family Dollar stores this year, mostly in the second quarter. In a normal year, it closes about 75. Net sales for the Dollar Tree brand increased 4.6% to $5.81 billion from $5.55 billion in the prior year’s first quarter, according to the company’s news release.
“We are simply providing customers with a convenient option to purchase adult beverage product while shopping for everyday needs at their neighborhood store,” Kayleigh Painter, investor and media relations manager for Dollar Tree, told The New York Times.
The new offering was not good news for all, according to the New York Times report.
Latisha White, a mother of six who lives in Baltimore, expressed concerns about the decision on the company’s Facebook page.
“Family Dollar why are you selling alcohol in neighborhoods that are already infested with liquor stores,” she wrote.
“It’s basically damaging to the neighborhood,” White, 35, said in an interview. “I don’t really see a need to have that. You already have enough poison in the neighborhood.”
Representatives from the company did not respond with answers on White’s concerns to the Times. Dollar Tree has also not yet announced which locations will offer alcohol nor the alcohol’s price point.
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