Two deep-discount heavyweights have combined their resources.

Two deep-discount heavyweights have combined their resources.

Dollar Tree Inc. announced plans today to buy Family Dollar for $8.5 billion.

The acquisition creates will create a discounter with 13,000 stores in 48 states and five Canadian provinces, with sales exceeding $18 billion and more than 145,000 employees.

Dollar Tree is the nation's biggest operator of fixed-price point stores, selling everything for $1 or less. It has three stores in Medford, as well as locations in Ashland, Central Point and White City, along with two in Grants Pass. Family Dollar is among the country's top multi-price-point stores.

Dollar Tree said it intends to retain and to grow both brands.

Dollar Tree targets customers primarily in suburban areas and Family Dollar targets low- and lower-middle income households through urban and rural locations. The deal will enable Dollar Tree to serve a broader range of customers and deliver even greater value to them, company officials said in a statement announcing the deal.