Dollar stores raise pay during coronavirus crisis

Workers have 'risen to the occasion'

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Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores are rewarding dedicated employees by temporarily raising pay for hourly and distribution center workers amid increased shopper demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was a way to reward folks to make sure ... we recognize what they've done -- they’ve risen to the occasion,” Dollar Tree CEO Gary Philbin said Thursday during an exclusive interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo. Dollar Tree is the parent company of Family Dollar.

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Panicked shoppers are emptying store shelves as they stock up on food, cleaning and sanitizing products.

Philbin added that the stores have also seen an uptick in homeschool supplies now that parents have to educate their kids at home.

ORLANDO, UNITED STATES - MARCH 19, 2020: Customers rush to purchase toilet paper at a Target store during the panic shopping. People stock up on food and personal hygiene products in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Pau

Last week, the company announced plans to hire 25,000 full- and part-time associates. The open positions included full- and part-time managers at more than 15,000 store locations, along with part-time shifts for cashiers and stockers. Jobs at its 24 distributions centers include order fillers, equipment operators, and warehouse associates.

“We are focused on nothing but getting our supply chain replenished to our stores on these critical items,” said Philbin.

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The discount retailer is also dedicating the first hour of shopping to senior citizens and others who are susceptible to the virus.

“I think for all retailers, it's a great place for us to recognize that it takes special recognition for these folks at risk. And we, among other retailers, I think, can execute that pretty well,” he said.

A vehicle drives through the parking lot outside a Family Dollar Stores Inc. store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Philbin said the spike in essentials has been unprecedented demand and that the company is “working around the clock in distribution centers.”

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