- Howard Levine is stepping down as CEO of Family Dollar on Jan. 15, the company announced Friday.
- The news comes about six months after rival discount chain Dollar Tree completed its acquisition of Family Dollar. It was said at that time that Levine was to stay with the new company for two years to help with integration.
- Family Dollar president and chief operating officer Gary Philbin will stay in his current role and lead Family Dollar in Levine's place, reporting to Dollar Tree CEO Bob Sasser.
Levine, son of Family Dollar founder Leon Levine, has been CEO of the chain since 1998, expanding Family Dollar to 8,200 stores in 46 states. But the chain has seen increasing competition from big box stores in recent years, which have expanded their smaller formats to compete with dollar stores both in concept and location. Family Dollar's merger with Dollar Tree, which created the largest dollar store chain in the country, will help both companies expand their reach and be more competitive.
With the merger of two different companies comes a merger of two different business ideologies. As we pointed out in July, both Dollar Tree and Family Dollar approached the dollar store concept in different ways. Dollar Tree carryed a large assortment of items at the dollar range, while Family Dollar exceeded that price mark with more items, many of them name brands. Melding the two concepts requires change, with Sasser mentioning in June that he planned to lower prices at Family Dollar and improve the stores' appearances. Levine's early departure from Family Dollar could be a signal that the new company is shifting towards a more Dollar Tree style of business.
“I have been impressed by Dollar Tree’s commitment to discipline and execution in running a value retail business," said Levine, who will remain on Dollar Tree's board of directors, in a statement.