No wonder dollar stores are booming.
10 early-season blueberries, or a snack stack of crackers,
or 2 candy necklaces, or ½ a box of breadcrumbs.
This is what a dollar buys you at the supermarket.
Fresh eggs, corn flakes, and imported olive oil.
The dollar store is no longer the quirky bazaar full of cheap trinkets and last year’s Super Bowl t-shirts. Dollar General, with nearly 10,000 locations, is now the nation’s largest retailer, and it got there selling groceries. Dollar stores have installed coolers and freezer cases and vastly expanded their food offerings. Food and other typical grocery items now account for nearly three-fourths of dollar store sales.
Hey, Richie Rich, didja get lost on the way to Whole Foods?
A third of all shoppers regularly buy traditional grocery items at dollar stores. There’s still a core of lower-income customers, but since the market meltdown of 2008 and the stagnant, jobless recovery that followed, there are a lot more late model cars in the parking lots and plenty of manicured soccer moms prowling the aisles.
The stores have responded to the new shoppers by sprucing up and mixing in more national brands and upscale offerings. A trip to the dollar store used to be a scavenger hunt through an unpredictable mish mash of random lots, obscure labels, salvage goods, and other detritus of overheated global manufacturing. You never knew what you might serendipitously stumble across. More recently, the stores have made an effort to standardize their merchandise offerings as well as store layouts and signage so that shoppers can get in and out efficiently and reliably check off everything on their shopping lists.
For the dollar store newbie:
Savvy Sugar tells you How to Buy Groceries at the Dollar Store.
Separate the deals from the duds with Yahoo Shine’s The Super-Saver’s Guide to Grocery Shopping at Dollar Stores.