GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. – Dollar General plans to open 975 stores in 2019, making it the top retail company for expanding so far this year, reports CBS News.
"We continue to invest in the business from a position of strength,” said Todd J. Vasos, Dollar General CEO, in a recent earnings call. “We are continuing to prioritize new store expansion and other real estate projects.”
After Dollar General, discounters Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Aldi and Five Below are in the top five for opening stores in 2019, with Dollar Tree opening about 350 new locations. Out of approximately 2,780 stores set to open thus far in 2019, about 1,800 are from discount chains, according to Coresight Research.
By contrast, more than 7,200 retail locations have been put on the chopping block this year, including 2,100 Payless stores. As iconic retailers fold due to years of debt financing and competition from Amazon, many remaining companies are retreating and regrouping, developing strategies focused on bolstering in-store experiences or generating traffic online. However, discount chains like Dollar General have made their mark on recession-era shoppers by doing the exact opposite.
Dollar stores are typically smaller and offer less product choices. They supply goods that consumers need quickly, and they are easy to navigate, attributes that make them a convenient stop and resistant to a digital takeover. They also perform well with consumers in all markets, rich or poor, urban or suburban. But they're experiencing the fastest growth in rural communities, where they may be the only available grocer for miles around.
Dollar General stores are adding freezers and coolers to manage a new fresh-food initiative in response to criticism that the company doesn't offer healthy options for low-income communities. The chain is moving fresh food into 450 of its 15,600 stores and is also exploring opportunities to buy local. The chain has consistently posted increasing revenues since it went public 10 years ago, racking up $6.62 billion in sales just last quarter and beating Wall Street analysts' expectations.
Overall, dollar stores continue to thrive, even as Americans are enjoying a full-employment economy, suggesting shoppers have internalized bargain-shopping behaviors learned during the Great Recession.
“The great thing is this model works so well in good times and not-so-good times,” Vasos said. “If this consumer is having to pay more across the board at every retailer because of these tariffs, we'll stand ready to build with open arms to take her in when she needs us most. And we're positioning ourselves for that as we move through 2019.”