Dollar General goes to market

Goodletsville, Tenn. — Dollar General has determined that turnabout is fair play. With general merchandise retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target rolling out "dollar sections" in their stores, Dollar General this year will roll out a new format that focuses on food and consumables to drive traffic.

The retailer will open 20 Dollar General Market stores this year, executives said during the company's fourth quarter analysts call this week. Two units have been in test since late last year, and "the results are so encouraging coming out of that model, we decided we just had to do it," said David Perdue, chairman and CEO.

Although 85 percent of the food skus in Dollar General Market stores are carried by regular Dollar General Stores, food is presented as the main traffic-driver for the new units, which also contain some general merchandise.

"Although they're very young stores, they are attracting a lot of new customers to the concept," Perdue added. "The productivity of the stores is higher than our original model."

Most of the new Markets will open in the second half of 2004. Dollar General will use the new fleet to test location variables, an assortment of product mixes and layouts, executives said.

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