“Three dollar store chains will make up almost half of all the new stores opening up in the United States this year, a reflection of the dollar store sector’s outsized growth,” reports Nathaniel Meyersohn for CNN Business. Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar stores make up around 45% of store openings announced so far in 2021. “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.” Dollar stores, usually under 10,000 square feet, can take advantage of local real estate opportunities where bigger stores would not fit.
The companies, which primarily target low-income consumers, “are also capturing more affluent shoppers hunting for discounts on essentials,” according to Ken Fenyo, the president and head of advisory and research at Coresight. “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.” Because dollar stores sell daily essentials to consumers with “less of an ability to access online retail” than the average shopper, their business model is also less vulnerable to the rise of online shopping.