Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dollar Store: The Booming Business of Being Cheap

English: Family Dollar 50th Anniversary Flagsh...
English: Family Dollar 50th Anniversary Flagship Store, Charlotte, NC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There's a reason Christmas as become so crassly commercial. Retailers ring up as much as 40 percent of the entire year's sales between Black Friday and Christmas day. But there is one segment of stores that skips the holiday hoopla. In fact, they seem to fly under the retail radar all year long: Dollar stores.

The three top players, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree and Dollar General, have quietly become a $56 billion industry and they are opening new locations faster than Starbucks. By one estimate, there are more dollar stores in the United States than drug stores.

"Believe it or not, we can still open a lot of stores," said Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine. "Particularly in California where we just opened a store a year ago… this is probably a 1,000-store state."

Right now, Levine overseas an empire of 7,550 stores nationwide -- and counting. Family Dollar opened 500 new stores this year – more than one per day.

"If somebody told me I was cheap, I would take that as a compliment," he said. "That means we are looking for value. That means we don't overpay for stuff."

When asked what his answer was to the stereotype that dollar stores only sell junk, Levine said, "I say you haven't been in a Family Dollar, maybe ever, to make that kind of comment." Read more >>

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