Entries in Dollar Store (2)


Dollar Store, Inc.: The Booming Business of Being Cheap

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- 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: Dollar stores.  In fact, they seem to fly under the retail radar all year long.

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."

But cheap is working.  The three dollar chains are Fortune 500 companies.  

Another chain, 99 Cents Only, is eyeing real estate on Beverly Hill's ritzy Rodeo Drive.  There is already a store on Wilshire Boulevard -- not far away -- and it is the chain's best-performing location.  It makes double the sales of most others.

Dollar stores have been expanding while the rest of the economy has been receding.  Family Dollar has been doing well more than a half century.  Levine's father opened the first one in Charlotte, N.C., in 1959.

"My friends say, 'I'm miserable, but you must love this economy,'" Levine said.  "That's not really the case.  We would much prefer a strong economy, strong employment.  People need jobs and when people have jobs, they spend money.  We do pretty well in a tough time, but we do very well in good times."

In the beginning, Family Dollar sold only things that cost a buck, but they abandoned that years ago.  Today, roughly 90 percent of their products are less than $10.  About one-third of everything they sell is not made in America, but Levine said that's just the nature of the business.

"Unfortunately, a lot of manufacturing has gone overseas," he said. "They have a cheap way of doing it and consumers accept it.  There is no backlash from that so you got to go where you get the value and you got to go where you have the workmanship and the factories to do that."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dollar Store Secrets: What to Buy, What to Skip, How to Save

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- America has become a dollar store nation. No matter how much we earn, we all want to save. Dollar stores are booming in these tough economic times, attracting shoppers looking for low prices on necessities and the occasional small splurge.

In the past, people believed that dollar stores did not carry quality goods, but more and more people are discovering the incredible savings to be found at dollar stores.

With everything from cleaning supplies to baby clothes to food items, the dollar store is no longer a place to find knick-knacks and surplus goods. Good Morning America's Lara Spencer visited a local dollar store to show you how to save. This dollar store had all the same items as local competitors, but for 20 to 50 percent less. In a couple rare examples, the prices were the same, but nothing was more expensive.

Here are nine tips on how to stretch your dollar on your visit:

1. Make a List

Before you head out for your shopping trip, make a list of the things you need.

2. What Items to Buy

Paper products, household cleaning items, seasonal items (decorations, candy), craft items, baby clothes and non-perishable pantry items are some of the best things to pick up at dollar stores at a deep discount.

3. Ditch the Name Brands

Generic Brand vs National Brand. Many dollar stores carry the same national brands found in your grocery store or big box retailer. (Laundry detergent is one example.) Some generic brands found in dollar stores can be just as good as leading brands, especially for things like sponges or cleaning tools.

4. Cut Your Coupons

A lot of dollar stores honor manufacturer coupons, which is savings on top of savings.

5. Check Expiration Dates

Be sure to check expiration dates.

6. Avoid Tampered Packaging

Over-the-counter drugs are a real bargain at the dollar store. It is extremely important to always check the label and to make sure there are the appropriate vitamins and ingredients in the medicines. Also, be sure to take a look at the packaging and that it hasn't been tampered with.

7. Get the Best Batteries

When looking for batteries make sure to note that the best batteries have lithium.

8. Think Before Buying Electronics

Be careful of electronic equipment at dollar stores. Look for the UL label, which stands for Underwriters Laboratories Inc. UL is an independent product safety certification organization. If the product does not have the UL label, it could cause fires or other damages.

9. Leave the Kids at Home

Don't take your kids with you to the dollar store. It is hard to stick to a list with so many great deals as it is, and your kids will tempt you to buy even more things that you don't need.

The neighborhood dollar store may become one of your favorite places, and will save you a lot of money.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio