Dollar General has helped a lot of Americans stretch a buck.
With 12,719 stores in 43 states, Dollar General prices about 25% of its products at $1 or less. But it distinguishes itself from the pack of dollar stores out there by selling a lot of name-brand products at a variety of price points above $1.
Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, Unilever, Kellogg's, General Mills, Nabisco, Hanes, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are just a few of the names you'll find in the aisles.
If you've ever shopped the General, check out these little-known facts about the company!
Read more: 6 best dollar store buys
Corporate materials refer to customers as "friends" and "BFFs"
Dollar General thinks of its customers as BFFs, friends, acquaintances or strangers depending on their level of loyalty to the brand.
This tidbit was revealed in a presentation titled "Customer-Centric Merchandising Delivering 2020 Vision" that Chief Merchandising Officer Jim Thorpe delivered at a recent investor event.
The company even gives its core customers name: Tiffany, Stan and Virginia, to name just a few.
Here are some quick stats about Dollar General's customers taken from the presentation:
Our BFFs: Core Customers
- Household income: $40,000
- Living paycheck to paycheck
- Relies upon government assistance
- New Millennial, African-American segment
Our Friends: Core Customers
- HH income: $57,000
- New Male segment
- Thriftiness — not necessity — primarily driving trips to DG
- Trade-down Segments
Here's the inside scoop on the best deals in the store
Laundry products are considered the best deals, according to a manager named Brandon who recently did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) about his job. "Beer is cheap too, same with phone chargers," he added.
"We have iPhone 5 and 6 chargers for $15, while the stores down the street sell them for $30-40…Most of are our products are cheaper than other big box stores apparently (been told this by customers). Greeting cards are a deal. Most are 50 cents – $1. If you go to a place like Hallmark, they're about $5 for the same ones."
Don't forget about the coupons!
Dollar General accepts one manufacturer and one store coupon per item. Stacking of two or more manufacturer coupons per item is not allowed.
Considering the store sells products from national name-brand trusted manufacturers, this can really be a great way for you to save. Check out more coupons for Dollar General.
These are the most shoplifted items
"The two most shoplifted items [are] a tie between clothes and Tide Pods," manager Brandon said in the same AMA chat. "People were just slicing open the Tide Pod Pouches and dumping them into a bag."
"But I've seen a lot of [other strange] things get stolen like two packs [of] hot cocoa mix out of a box, a few trash bags out of a box, a few Ziploc bags out of a box that were only a dollar to begin with…tons more."
The chain does a lot of charity work around literacy
Co-founder J.L. Turner was functionally illiterate because he dropped out of school at an early age to support his family. That's led Dollar General make literacy a main focus of their charitable initiatives.
Since its inception 23 years ago, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $120 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 7.3 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education.
More recently, the company marked its 50th Reading Revolution program with a Florida school. Since its inception in 2013, Dollar General’s Reading Revolution program has made a meaningful impact across the communities it serves by helping approximately 34,000 students improve their lives through literacy and education.
Here are the biggest sales categories
A recent Reddit AMA made it seems as if tobacco was the biggest seller at Dollar Generals. But in reality, that's not typical across the chain. Tobacco products accounted for only 3% of Dollar General revenue in 2015.
In reality, tobacco — while technically the smallest-selling segment — is very profitable for Dollar General. According to the latest numbers available, cigarettes have boosted the size of the store's average transaction by 28%. The average transaction without cigarettes is $10.77. With smokes, it comes to an average of $13.75.
Still, there are bigger sellers out there. What's the biggest chain-wide? Food and perishables accounted for 20% of the revenue last year.
Dollar General has its eye on magazine publishing
Who says print is dead? Last fall, Dollar General launched the first and perhaps only issue of BEAUTYCENTS Magazine. The print publication, which was available only at select Dollar General stores, offered beauty and health advice, how-to guides and affordable fashion suggestions.
One of the nice features of the magazine is that it was chock full of Dollar General coupons to help shoppers "save on necessities and spend more on beauty," as the publication wrote.
Will we see another issue of BEAUTYCENTS? Only time will tell…
The store is committing to 100% cage-free eggs by 2025
Just like McDonald's, Dollar General wants to exclusively sell cage-free eggs to its customers over the next 10 years or so.
"Affordability is critically important to the Dollar General customer, and eggs are often a primary source of protein for their families. Our in-store testing revealed our customers are not willing to pay a higher price for cage-free eggs if there is a lower price alternative," the company writes in a press release.
"Like most, Dollar General and its customers are concerned about animal welfare. Balancing this concern with a commitment to providing quality products at everyday low prices, Dollar General is setting a goal of working with its suppliers to transition to 100 percent cage-free in-shell eggs by 2025."
Spring Creek: This cheap house brand of wine gets good reviews
Dollar General reportedly has sold its own house brand of wine called Spring Creek. While it's not quite as cheap as Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck, the reviews are pretty good!
"Even my wine snob friends who have been to Napa were shocked. My family tasted wine across Italy and thought it was very good. My faves are the Merlot and Riesling. The Pink Moscato is sweet, but very nice." – Mary
"The texture of this wine is about the same as grape juice so it's highly drinkable. I'm guessing it has a very low alcohol content, but I don't know for sure, so don't knock it back like it's actually grape juice." – Savanah Mandeville of the Wine Pursuit
Read more: 10 surprises you didn't know about Dollar Tree
Dollar General is breaking up with NASCAR
Dollar General has been a long-time sponsor of NASCAR, with its color and logo prominently displayed on the No. 20 Dollar General car driven by Matt Kenseth.
The estimated price tag of the Dollar General sponsorship is somewhere around $20 million annually. But after this season, the store is severing its ties with NASCAR completely and putting the money toward more strategic marketing goals.
"Our strategy to reallocate our future marketing assets into new programs is strictly a business decision to align our priorities to better serve our customer in this rapidly changing retail environment," the company said in a statement.
Read more: The #1 threat to your dollar store savings
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