Dollar General Corp. keeps steamrolling ahead.
The Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based chain, which competes closely with Matthews-based Family Dollar, said it plans to add about 2,000 stores over the next two years, bringing its total count to more than 14,000 stores.
Dollar General plans to open 900 new stores and relocate or remodel 875 stores in the current year. For next year, it forecasts opening 1,000 new stores and plans relocations or remodels of 900 stores. The plan was revealed at its annual investor meeting Thursday.
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During the Great Recession, Dollar General, along with other dollar chains, attracted legions of followers looking to save money. It capitalized on its appeal by expanding offerings of name-brand goods. Its attraction persisted among shoppers who continue to look for deals and also want convenience.
The stores are generally about 7,000 square feet with small parking lots, so it’s easy for customers to get in and out compared to big-box stores.
The expansion comes after Dollar General lost a hostile battle with rival Dollar Tree to acquire rival Family Dollar.
Both Family Dollar and Dollar General sell a variety of items and national brands for $10 and under, while Dollar Tree sells everything in its stores for $1 or less. Family Dollar shareholders approved the sale of the company to Dollar Tree because they saw it as more likely to win antitrust approval than a Dollar General deal. The deal was completed last year.
But the loss hasn’t hurt its business. Dollar General projects that annual net sales will increase 7 percent to 10 percent and that earnings per share will increase anywhere from 10 percent to 15 percent. In the year ended Jan. 29, Dollar General posted annual revenue of $20.4 billion, an increase of 7.7 percent.
Dollar stores have become an increasing threat to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, which in 2011 opened its smallest concept store called Wal-Mart Express. Wal-Mart saw the stores, which measured about 15,000 square feet, as a weapon against dollar stores.
But the concept never caught on because the stores essentially served the same purpose as Wal-Mart’s larger Neighborhood Markets: fill-in trips and prescription pickups. In January, Wal-Mart announced it was closing all 102 Wal-Mart Express stores as part of the overall trimming of its global footprint. The Observer contributed.