In the latest development in a prolonged, dizzying dollar-store drama, Dollar Express and Dollar Tree have settled a pair of lawsuits filed last summer. Dollar Express and parent firm Sycamore Partners are paying Dollar Tree, which owns Matthews-based Family Dollar, $35 million.
Dollar Tree sued Charlotte-based Dollar Express in June, alleging that the newly formed chain and its owners siphoned off funds and failed to pay Dollar Tree over $50 million for goods and services.
Sycamore, a New York private equity firm that also owns Belk, started Dollar Express when it bought roughly 330 stores from Matthews-based Family Dollar in 2015. For antitrust purposes, Dollar Tree was required to sell the Family Dollar-branded stores to buy the local chain.
Dollar Express sued Dollar Tree back, alleging that Dollar Tree and Family Dollar sabotaged the chain of stores that it sold to Dollar Express by hiring and promoting unqualified workers and opening new Family Dollar-branded stores in close proximity to Dollar Express stores.
The Jan. 4 settlement brings to a close the two lawsuits, which were filed in the Delaware Chancery Court.
Last March, Sycamore abruptly laid off Dollar Express’ store-level and corporate employees and sold the stores to Tennessee-based Dollar General, saying it could “no longer operate as a viable standalone business.” Over the summer, Dollar Tree said that it “had nothing to do” with Sycamore’s failure to make Dollar Express a viable business.