The Dollar General brand

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

11 December 2019

The Dollar General brand isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay

In an environment where most retail continues to struggle, the Dollar General brand is bucking the trend.

Typically, when you hear the term “discount retailer,” most think of Walmart or Target. However, Dollar General is finding a formula for success in stores with a much smaller foot print. By being completely unpretentious.

Dollar General operates more than 15,000 stores nationwide and, unlike other retailers who are closing stores, it is actually planning to open new stores. Like 1,000 more in 2020.

Dollar General brandWhat’s more, for the quarter ending November 1, net income for the Dollar General brand rose from $334.1 million a year ago to $365.6 million this year. Net sales increased 8.9% to $6.99 billion and same store sales increased 4.6%.

So what’s the secret?

Dollar General brand puts a stake in the ground

There are two reasons for its growth. For one, it’s staked out a claim in rural and lower-income locations. They become convenience stores of sorts for those that live where other retailers aren’t so easily accessed.

“The Dollar General brand is unabashedly downscale, brand positioning no one else claims. Most of its advertising is based on couponing. Even its digital ads look like the old newspaper inserts from your local grocery store.”

But the real secret is the Dollar General brand.

It’s unabashedly downscale, brand positioning no one else claims. Most of its advertising is based on couponing. Even its digital ads look like the old newspaper inserts from your local grocery store.

If you have ever been in the stores, you know every square inch is covered with products. There is no pretense and no merchandising – just products sold as cheaply as possible. In fact, there’s an emphasis on having no pretense.

Does this work for long-term growth? It has so far, as even its reliance on the brands it offers (basics, like Coke and Kleenex) feeds into its regular-guy persona.

Even though the below ad is from two years ago, it gets at what makes the Dollar General brand work. It’s for picking up, this and that.

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