Family Dollar sale is a done deal

Dollar Tree completed the buyout of rival discount store Family Dollar on Monday.

A yearlong merger between two big discount retailers has been sealed.

Dollar Tree closed the $8.5 billion acquisition of Family Dollar on Monday after the Federal Trade Commission cleared the deal last week.

The government approval hinges on the sale of 330 Family Dollar stores within 150 days.

Dollar Tree announced a plan in May to sell those locations to private-equity firm Sycamore Partners, which has said it would rename them Dollar Express. None of those stores is in South Carolina, according to a list obtained by the website

Dollar Tree has said that it expects to trim annual costs by as much as $300 million within several years.

“This is a transformational opportunity for our business to offer broader, more compelling merchandise assortments, with greater values, to a wider array of customers,” CEO Bob Sasser said in a written statement Monday. “This acquisition will extend our reach to low-income customers, while strengthening and diversifying our footprint.”

The combination creates the nation’s largest dollar store chain, with more than 13,000 stores, 145,000 employees and annual revenue of around $19 billion.

Dollar Tree said it “intends to retain and to grow both banners going forward and will optimize the combined real estate portfolio.”

Family Dollar has about several dozen locations in the Charleston region, according to its website. Dollar Tree has six.

Bargain stores took a hit during the recession because their core customer base was among those most severely affected by numerous waves of layoffs and foreclosures. They also began to face intense competition from retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co.

Big dollar store chains sought to increase their buying power through acquisitions. The $8.5 billion buyout of Family Dollar by Chesapeake, Va.-based Dollar Tree was announced last July. The proposed deal kicked off a yearlong struggle that drew in antitrust regulators and rival bids.

Industry rival Dollar General also sought to acquire Matthews, N.C.-based Family Dollar, which rejected the bid because it believed that the deal would be blocked by regulators. Both chains have similar pricing strategies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.