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Nearly 1 in 3 new stores opening in the US is a Dollar General

About 45% of the 3,597 store openings that large retail chains in the United States have announced so far this year are from Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, according to the latest figures from Coresight Research, a firm that aggregates the numbers from company filings and press releases.
These openings are a continuation of dollar stores' rapid growth even before the pandemic. Economists and retail analysts say dollar stores are expanding in part because of growing wealth inequality in the United States and the hollowing out of the middle class. The share of American adults who live in middle-income households decreased from 61% in 1971 to 51% in 2019, according to Pew Research Center.
"We've seen a bifurcation in the economy," said Ken Fenyo, the president and head of advisory and research at Coresight. "So while the wealthy have done well and continue to do well since the Great Recession, there's certainly a lot of the population that has not done as well. The dollar stores appeal strongly to that segment of the population. That's probably the overriding reason we see for the growth in the format."
While Dollar Tree(DLTR) targets a broad range of income groups, Dollar General(DG) and Family Dollar mainly cater to low-income shoppers. Dollar Tree bought Family Dollar in 2015.
The companies are also capturing more affluent shoppers hunting for discounts on essentials, Fenyo said.
Consumers may be looking to save even more money now. Inflation is rising and is expected to continue to rise over the summer months as the economy fully reopens.
Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos said in March that company data indicated that there was an increase in new customers during its most recent quarter compared to the same time last year, noting that they "skew younger [and] higher income" than traditional shoppers.
Dollar stores are able to open in areas other retailers wouldn't because of their small size, Fenyo said.
Stores are typically under 10,000 square feet, compared to 180,000 square-foot Walmart supercenter or a grocery store, which is typically around 40,000 square feet.
"They can fit more easily into local real estate than, let's say, a Walmart or Target or something that's a bigger format," Fenyo said. "That certainly means they can go in more places."
Dollar stores are also better protected against the rise of online shopping, said Gus Faucher, the chief economist at PNC.
Some dollar store customers often have "less of an ability to access online retail," Faucher said, because of shipping fees or lack of internet access or experience shopping online. Most of the goods these chains sell are food and daily essentials, which are less frequently purchased online and are for immediate consumption, limiting the appeal of waiting days or more for delivery.
Other discount retailers are also opening new stores this year, including Five Below(FIVE), Burlington Stores(BURL), TJMaxx and Marshalls owner TJX(TJX), Big Lots(BIG) and Aldi.

Dollar General expands Popshelf with shop-in-shops

Dive Brief:

  • Dollar General is bringing its Popshelf concept to the discounter's larger-format DG Market stores with two shop-in-shops added this month, according to a press release.
  • The stores, both in Tennessee, are the first to incorporate Popshelf into other Dollar General formats. It comes after Dollar General launched the concept, which has higher prices and a higher-income target customer, last year. 
  • The company plans to open around 25 combination stores in 2021. That is on top of the 50 stand-alone Popshelf stores Dollar General plans to open this year.

Dive Insight:

Popshelf is a dollar store tailor made to middle-income suburban women. As such, the concept is essentially the first of its kind.

Popshelf offers Dollar General a channel for products with price points a few dollars higher than those of its core stores and a chance to conquer the suburbs. With prices mostly at $5 and under and a treasure hunt atmosphere, analysts have described Popshelf as a kind of adult version of Five Below.

To create the treasure hunt effect, merchandise is replenished frequently and includes seasonal and home decor products, as well as health and beauty, cleaning, arts and crafts, party products and toys. 

The banner has its own merchandising team, though, as Joseph Feldman, retail analyst and assistant director of research with Telsey Advisory Group, told Retail Dive in a recent interview, Dollar General can bring a "heavy pencil" to negotiations with vendors to get good deals for the company.

Along with different merchandising and price points, Popshelf requires a larger labor footprint to operate, likely in part of because of its frequent replenishment. 

To date, Dollar General has opened 16 Popshelf stores and has additional stores under construction in Alabama and South Carolina. Ultimately, the company sees an opportunity for around 3,000 Popshelfs across the U.S., though it hasn't said if or to what extent that includes combination stores.

CEO Todd Vasos said the shop-in-shop concept "further demonstrates our innovative spirit and track record of format development." Vasos added that the company "aim[s] to deliver the value and products customers trust from a DG Market with the continually-refreshed merchandise" of Popshelf through the combined format. 

One analyst, Scott Mushkin of R5 Capital, has criticized the plan for Dollar General to mix Popshelf with other of its namesake banners. 

"The upside of co-mingling is maybe in some of your DGSs you can put a Popshelf and you can enhance returns a certain amount, and that's good," Mushkin told Retail Dive in an interview earlier this month. "What's the downside? The downside is you freaking tarnish the Popshelf brand and you never get the results. The downside is significant because you can screw up something that's just amazing."

Dollar General is in the early phases of its Popshelf experiment, and learning as it goes along. One thing is clear: The retailer has big plans for the concept and sees a rich opportunity in it. Already, its Popshelf stores are showing higher sales and better margins than its traditional format. And the company is blazing ahead with its build-out plans while it learns how to operate a concept essentially new to the company and the dollar sector as a whole.

Grand openings for the combo stores in Tennessee are scheduled for July 31. 

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Your favorite ways to save. Now in one place.

- Digital Coupons – Save on hundreds of items every week.

- DG Pickup - Dollar General’s buy online pickup in store program.

- Cart Calculator – In-store budgeting that helps you save as you shop.

- Shopping List – Keep your checklist and add coupons.

- Weekly Ads – See what’s on sale at your store.

- DG GO!* - A quicker, scan-and-go checkout option.

*Available in select stores only.

Version 7.19.0

We’ve added the ability for users to provide additional criteria to personalize offers and experiences. You simply go to the account section and update preferences.

Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5

157.7K Ratings

Great tool!

Issue stated before has been fixed. Very happy with app, only issue now is the terrible wifi service in the store. Please make it better. Thanks!

I love this app! You are able to scan items in store and check prices, you can see what coupons (if any) attach to the product in question and you can create a shopping trip list in the app for your next trip! The only problem I have with the app (that I’ve had for months) is that I am not able to set my store as “my store” in the app. The app gives me options on what stores are available but it doesn’t show the store that’s closest to me. I’ve logged in and out and still no change. This becomes troublesome when I need to check prices on items and have to guess if that’s the correct price for my specific store. I’ve emailed support on the app and just received a generic email and never heard back from anyone. Can you look into this and please let me know what’s going on? Otherwise, I’m very happy with Dollar General and the app and will continue shopping there.

The new update is garbage

People have been relentlessly asking for a “clip all” button for your digital coupons. Evidently complaining in the store surveys does nothing so maybe here will work. The new update is slow and glitchy and has made clipping EVEN FREAKING SLOWER and still doesn’t have a clip all button. Trash. Family Dollar is run way better. Right now it says that I have $6 in coupons to clip. However, when I go to clip, it shows none. It loads slow, it constantly glitches out and says try again later. It’s awful and I’m considering taking my business elsewhere where the digital coupons actually work. Like Family Dollar. The entire company is becoming garbage. They don’t respond to complaint emails. They don’t respond to complaints sent through the surveys on the receipts. They don’t respond to the “contact us” on their website, and they don’t respond to phone calls to corporate. This app sent me 36 NOTIFICATIONS IN 20 MINUTES all saying the same thing. I had to file criminal harassment charges on one of their store manager’s because of an incident in one of their stores and STILL no district manager or anyone from corporate will contact me.

And yes, I would like to clip all the coupons available because sometimes there are coupons that I didn’t know were there and I get a surprise at the register with an extra coupon discount. Everyone I know with the app, clips all. However, even a clip all for each category would be better than nothing.

Hello. Thank you for your feedback. We are always looking for customer feedback on how to better the mobile application. We will look into potentially adding this feature however at any given time there is over 150+ coupons. Would you want to be able to clip all 150+ coupons or would you perhaps like to be able to clip a specific category or coupons? We would love any additional feedback. Thank you!


Why is it we need to reset our password when you updated this account? Why is it we just can’t enter a phone number and get into it?! Furthermore can’t you make it to where you can scan an item to see if it matches the coupons on your app?....many times I have bought the item and it won’t or didn’t take the coupon off because item didn’t match!!!! Really need to work on this app because dollar general is my goto spot but am beginning to think I need to goto family dollar because their app is so much better and I never get a please try again when I am looking at their coupons would also be nice if you could make it to where we can remove a coupon that we accidentally clipped!!! Just tired of recovering my account because you updated it, my husband can’t even get into his account because the email he had got compromised and it won’t even let him into his account so he’s down his app because he had to relog into it and since he don’t have that email anymore he can’t use his app or the coupons he wants thanks!!

Thank you for your feedback. We are always looking to add additional features to the mobile application that will better the user experience. We really appreciate your feedback.

The developer, Dolgencorp, LLC, indicated that the app’s privacy practices may include handling of data as described below. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

Data Used to Track You

The following data may be used to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies:

Data Linked to You

The following data may be collected and linked to your identity:

  • Financial Info
  • Contact Info

Data Not Linked to You

The following data may be collected but it is not linked to your identity:

  • Identifiers
  • Usage Data
  • Diagnostics

Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More


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