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Family Dollar closing West Memphis facility where hundreds of rodents found

by The Associated Press | May 18, 2022 at 4:46 p.m.
FILE - The Family Dollar logo is centered above one of its variety stores in Canton, Miss., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. More than 1,000 rodents were found inside a Family Dollar distribution facility in Arkansas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 as the chain issued a voluntary recall affecting items purchased from hundreds of stores in the South. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Family Dollar is closing an Arkansas distribution facility where more than 1,000 rodents were found earlier this year, forcing the recall of items from hundreds of stores, the company said Wednesday.

The company said it plans to close the facility in West Memphis by the end of October, affecting approximately 300 employees.

"Like most companies, we regularly assess our operational footprint to ensure we are running our business in the most effective and responsible way. As a result of that process, we determined the nearly 30-year-old facility in West Memphis would not be adequate to allow us to continue serving the needs and requirements of our stores and customers served by the distribution center," Randy Guiler, vice president of investor relations for Dollar Tree, Family Dollar's parent company, said in a statement.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in February that it had inspected the distribution facility following a consumer complaint. Inside the building, inspectors said they found live rodents, dead rodents in "various states of decay," rodent feces, dead birds and bird droppings.

After fumigating the facility, more than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered, officials said. Family Dollar issued a temporary recall and closed 404 stores in six states — Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee — so numerous products that had been at the facility could be removed from shelves. Family Dollar said in February it was not aware of any illnesses related to the recall.

The products included human foods, animal foods, cosmetics, medical devices and over-the-counter medications.

Guiler said the company is offering severance to eligible employees, as well as outplacement and employee assistance programs. The building will discontinue shipping to stores before the end of June, and a transfer of inventory to other distribution centers will be completed in August.

The announcement of the warehouse's closure comes weeks after the state filed a lawsuit against Family Dollar and Dollar Tree. The lawsuit accuses the companies of deceiving consumers, negligence and engaging in a conspiracy that allowed the infestation to occur.

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