Dollar General has been on fire in recent years. Since the Great Recession consumers of all stripes have found good reason to go hunting in their hallowed aisles for some of the most extreme bargain shopping on offer in the U.S. retail landscape.
But, though there is a lot on can buy at a DG, there is a hard limit. Fresh foods — produce, milk and pretty much anything that has to be kept cool — is not traditionally in Dollar General’s repertoire.
Or at least it wasn’t until now.
Dollar General announced yesterday (June 27) that it bought 41 former Walmart Express stores in almost a dozen states.
The plan is to do some store relocating where necessary to those slightly larger locations, and to stock the shelves with fresh produce and meat.
The irony, of course, is that Walmart Express was launched in 2011 to fend off the threat from Dollar General and other dollar stores of its ilk. But the stores did not perform as desired, and by January Walmart announced that it was shuttering all 102 locations.
Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon said the closures were “necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future.”
He also noted that Walmart’s focus and its workers’ focus was better spent on growing Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and online sales.
The enhanced “Dollar General Plus,” stores are slated to open in October, according to a DG spokesperson.
The expansion into fresh food goes along with Dollar General’s generally expansive outlook of late. The store plans to grow from 13K to 20K locations by 2020 and to up the diversity of goods on its shelf.