Dollar Tree to sell 7 Maine stores to appease trade officials

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PORTLAND — Discount retailer Dollar Tree will sell seven Maine stores to a private equity firm as a condition of its $9.2 billion acquisition of competitor Family Dollar.

The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with Dollar Tree, requiring it to sell 330 stores nationwide, including its locations in South Portland, Caribou, Gray, Lewiston, Livermore Falls, Old Town and Waterville.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said the required sales will preserve competition in areas that have both Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores that now compete.

“These stores are located in both small towns and in our larger cities and suburbs,” Mills said. “We wanted to be sure that in areas where these stores were near each other that there would still be competition to offer the best prices and merchandise.”

Maine was a party to the FTC settlement, along with 16 other states.

Dollar Tree plans to sell 330 stores in the next few months to the private equity firm Sycamore Partners, a New York-based company founded in 2011 that specializes in buyouts of consumer, retail and fashion stores.

Sycamore plans to rebrand those stores under the name Dollar Express, according to Mills.

The terms of the settlement would leave Dollar Tree with about 78 stores in Maine. Family Dollar currently operates about 60 stores in the state. Dollar Tree has 25, including those it will sell. After the merger, Dollar Tree will have about 11,800 stores across the country, becoming the largest discount retailer in the country.

Dollar Tree and Dollar General Corp. were last year involved in a bidding war for Family Dollar stores.

The settlement is pending court approval in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Mills stated.

Mills noted that her office worked with the Federal Trade Commission and the other attorneys general in conducting a national review of the transaction. The attorneys general have filed their lawsuit and proposed consent judgment in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia.

Sycamore Partners is expected to acquire the stores being divested over the coming few months and operate them under its Dollar Express banner.