Family Dollar to close store after rodent infestation

Value store chain Family Dollar announced Wednesday that it was closing an Arkansas warehouse where the discovery of a rodent infestation earlier this year forced the company to recall potentially contaminated items and temporarily close more than 400 stores.

Randy Guiler, vice president of investor relations for Dollar Tree Inc., the parent company of Family Dollar, confirmed in an email that the distribution facility in West Memphis, Ark., would stop shipping to stores before the end of June. Mr. Guiler said that approximately 300 workers would be affected.

“We are committed to treating affected associates fairly and respectfully,” he said, “and are doing everything we can to support them in their transitions, including providing severance plans to those who are eligible, as well as relocation and assistance services. for employees. programs.”

The company decided that the facility was not adequate to “continue to serve the needs and requirements of our stores and customers,” Mr. Guiler said.

He said the closure was not related to a Food and Drug Administration inspection of the facility in January, which found live and dead rodents “in various stages of decomposition” and products stored in a way that did not protect against these conditions. unhealthy

The FDA said a review of the company’s records indicated the collection of more than 2,300 rodents from late March through September 2021, “demonstrating a history of infestation.”

In response to the report, Family Dollar temporarily closed 404 stores in six states to conduct a voluntary recall of food, cosmetics and other products that were stocked at the Arkansas facility from early 2021 through February.

Arkansas State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit against Family Dollar in April, alleging the company willfully neglected to properly care for facilities and misled consumers about potentially contaminated products.

The lawsuit said conditions at the West Memphis distribution center were part of a “worrying pattern” of rodent infestations at Family Dollar stores across the country.

Ms. Rutledge said in an email Thursday that the facility’s closure did not address the underlying problem of how Family Dollar conducts business.

“Family Dollar is punishing hundreds of hardworking Arkansas families instead of cleaning up the company’s illegal business practices that put its employees and consumers at risk,” he said.

West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon said at a news conference Wednesday that the city would work with the state to help workers affected by the shutdown.

“It’s frustrating that over a 30-year relationship with them here in the city of West Memphis, and this community being a good partner here in the city of West Memphis, we’re going to lose that industry,” McClendon said, “but the people are what I’m more concerned.”

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