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Shoppers leave the Family Dollar store on Second Street in Manchester on Thursday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

Impact of closings unknown on NH's Family Dollar Stores

Family Dollar Stores Inc., which operates about 30 value-retail stores in New Hampshire, announced that it was closing 370 stores nationwide between now and September.

The company said overall sales had not been as high as expected in the past three months, and that the store closings were one part of an overall strategy that included corporate layoffs, price reductions of 1,000 items and a slowing down of new store growth.

Nationwide, the Charlotte, N.C.-based company operates about 8,000 stores in 46 states.

An email sent to the company asking about locations of the store closures was not returned Thursday.

The manager of the Second Street Family Dollar store in Manchester said he hadn't heard anything, but he's confident it will remain open.

"If this (location) closed down, I'd be amazed," said John Cronk. "Let's put it this way, I'm not looking for another job."

The New Hampshire Labor Department said no WARN notices had been filed regarding Family Dollar stores, but officials cautioned that retailers, which rely heavily on part-time help, may not meet the qualifications for WARN notices.

In a conference call Thursday with analysts, Chief Financial Officer Mary Winston said the stores that will close were losing money, and decisions were based on performance over the last three years.

"We didn't make our decision on a knee-jerk basis," Winston said.

Family Dollar has about 30 locations in New Hampshire, according to a store locator map on the company website.

On Thursday, Family Dollar announced an earnings per share of 80 cents for its second quarter of fiscal year 2014, down from $1.21 for the same period in 2013.

"The 2013 holiday season was challenged by a more promotional competitive environment and a more financially constrained consumer. In addition, like many retailers, our second-quarter results were significantly impacted by severe winter weather, which resulted in numerous store closings, disrupted merchandise deliveries and higher than expected utility and store maintenance expenses," company chief-executive Howard Levine said in prepared remarks.

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