While most retailers are hurting this year, Dollar General is booming with plans to open 900 new stores in 2018. By the end of 2017, three in four Americans will live within five miles of one of their stores.
"Our first priority remains investing in new stores where we continue to see great returns," CFO John Garratt said in a call with investors Thursday, reports CNNMoney.
The number of Dollar General stores has climbed to 14,000 stores in 44 states, up 35 percent from five years ago.
"The company [is] the closest and most convenient general merchant for millions," GlobalData Retail analyst Neil Saunders told CNNMoney. He said the company's business plan — selling only daily essentials in rural markets without a Walmart — has helped it succeed while other retailers are hurt by online sales.
“Almost 75 percent of the population now live within five miles of a Dollar General store,” Saunders told Bloomberg. “This makes the company the closest and most convenient general merchant for millions, especially those living in rural areas.”
Dollar General's shares jumped 25 percent in 2017. Dollar Tree, a dollar store chain that sells all products for only $1, saw its shares jump 38 percent.
Dollar General saw its sales jump 4.3 percent in the previous fiscal quarter, thanks in part to Texas and Florida residents stocking up for the hurricanes.
The company has drawn more middle income and high-income shoppers, so its latest expansion will focus on metro areas. Lower-income Americans still make up the most of its customer base, thanks in part to government assistance programs like Medicaid and food stamps.
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