Dollar Tree on Monday announced that CEO Gary Philbin is retiring, according to a company press release. Philbin, who has 40 years of experience in the retail sector, joined the company in 2001 and became CEO in 2017.
Michael Witynski has been promoted to the chief executive role. Witynski joined Dollar Tree in 2010 as senior vice president of stores and was promoted in 2017 to president and COO of Dollar Tree stores. Most recently, he worked as enterprise president.
Philbin will stay with the company as a board member and executive through Sept. 23 to facilitate the transition.
As essential retailers, the dollar store sector has been one bright spot for the industry as COVID-19 battered other companies, leaving a string of bankruptcies in its wake.
Dollar Tree quickly felt the impact of pandemic-driven shopping, with the company making moves to hire over 25,000 new employees during Q1 to keep up with demand. In May, Dollar Tree reported $6.3 billion in net sales, up 8.2% year over year, while comparable sales rose 7%.
"Our performance in Q1 validates that Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are important to shoppers in the times of need especially for their daily essentials," Philbin said on an analyst call regarding the company's earnings.
However, Dollar Tree carries less food and consumable products than others in the sector, which ultimately gave ground to its competitors, including Dollar General, according to earlier comments by GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders.
As many retailers move to quickly right-size their store footprints, Dollar Tree is continuing to invest in enterprise projects, including opening 99 new stores, relocating 21, and completing 220 Family Dollar H2 renovations. Additionally, the company plans on opening 500 new brick-and-mortar locations (compared to the original plan of 550), 325 of which will be under the Dollar Tree banner.