Dollar General on Saturday opened its 19,000th store, a new location in Joplin, Missouri.
Since 2012, the discounter has opened roughly 1,000 new stores a year—a pace the Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based retailer said it intends to keep in 2023.
“Today marks an exciting milestone in Dollar General’s history as we open our 19,000th store,” CEO Jeff Owen said in a statement. “Since opening our first Missouri store in 1973, Dollar General has a longstanding history in the state and proudly employs more than 6,000 Missourians through our store, distribution center and DG Private Fleet.”
Dollar General began as a wholesaler in 1939 and opened its first retail store in Springfield, Kentucky, in 1955.
“We’ve grown from a single wholesale store to the country’s largest small-box retailer,” the company said on its website.
The company was started by J.L. Turner and his son, Cal Turner, with the concept of no item in the store costing more than $1.
By 1957, Dollar General had 29 locations, with annual sales of $5 million, the company said. The retailer went public in 1968, reporting annual sales of more than $40 million.
Amid soaring food prices, Dollar General has been building out its food and beverage departments in recent years to bring in value-minded grocery shoppers.
In December, the retailer reported that its food-and-beverage sales climbed 12% during the third quarter, outpacing same-store sales growth of 6.8% for the period.
Dollar General is also opening new distribution centers to increase its capacity.
The retailer now sells fresh produce in more than 3,000 stores and plans to add fruit and vegetable departments to about 2,000 stores this year. The expansion is part of the company’s DG Fresh initiative, which was rolled out chainwide in 2021 to help reduce costs by owning the distribution channels of fresh and frozen goods.
In 2023, Dollar General said it plans to undertake 3,170 U.S. real estate projects, including more than 1,000 new stores, 2,000 remodels and 120 relocations.
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