Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a Placer.ai account? Log In

Discount and Dollar Stores Leading the Pack

by 
Bracha Arnold
 on 
November 29, 2022
Discount and Dollar Stores Leading the Pack

The past few years have been good to the discount and dollar sector. The segment saw heightened visits and store fleet growth in a period marked by a global pandemic and economic uncertainty. Now, we dive into the performance of four major discount chains – Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar (owned by Dollar Tree), and Five Below – to see how the upcoming holiday season might affect visits. 

Store Fleet Expansion Leading to Continued Growth

The discount and dollar store category includes some of the largest retailers in the country. Dollar General boasts over 18,000 locations and counting. Family Dollar, owned by Dollar Tree, has 8,241 retail locations, while the Dollar Tree brand has 7,890 stores in the U.S. And Five Below, which has begun to pivot to a higher-income segment with its “Five Beyond” concept, currently operates over 1,000 stores with plans to triple its store count by 2030. 

These companies’ impressive foot traffic growth has been boosted by the segment's recent expansions. The pandemic drove major traffic surges to these essential retailers – and a year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) analysis shows that the growth is having a long-term impact on retail foot traffic to the category.  All four brands posted impressive foot traffic gains in the second half of the year, with October growth of 20.9%, 16.1%, 26.7%, and 54.1% for Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Five Below, respectively. 

Comparison to 2021 

While Yo3Y visits tell the big-picture story, zooming into year-over-year (YoY) visits puts current foot traffic trends into context. And although 2021 was an excellent year for discount and dollar stores, with most chains outperforming 2020’s already strong visit numbers, many of the leading discount & dollar brands succeeded in keeping the momentum going into 2022.

Foot traffic to Family Dollar and Five Below remained above 2021 levels every month, seeing visit growth of 1.7% and 2.3%, respectively, in October 2022. Dollar General saw YoY foot traffic increases almost every month except October, when visits fell just 3.1% relative to October 2021. Meanwhile, Dollar Tree saw slight YoY dips, but this is in comparison to last year’s strong performance, and not a reflection of reduced consumer demand.  

And critically, these companies are implementing strategies for continued long-term growth, enabling them to continue thriving in a post-pandemic environment. As inflation continues to strain budgets, higher-income customers are choosing lower-priced shopping options – and discount stores are expanding their retail footprint and offering a more diverse mix of products to keep new customers coming back. Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Five Below have all been experimenting with higher-priced retail concepts to expand their product selection and consumer base. Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Family Dollar have also begun testing fresh foods, including produce, in several of their stores. The decision to diversify their offerings moves these brands closer to “one-stop-shop” status and is likely to pay off as inflation pushes value-oriented consumers to seek out lower-cost options. 

Discounters Pulling Ahead


But while discount and dollar stores have been one of the primary beneficiaries of consumers trading down, the category may be facing some heightened competition over the holiday season. Several major superstores such as Target and Walmart have begun slashing prices to offload excess inventory, which may redirect some bargain-hunting consumers away from dollar stores.

Interestingly, however, foot traffic data indicates that there is enough demand to sustain growth in both categories – and that discount and dollar stores’ value proposition remains attractive even in the face of widespread price cuts. An examination of the baseline change in visits to dollar stores and superstores from January 2022 shows that both segments are growing, with discount stores pulling ahead of superstores – despite the steep discounts that are sure to continue into and define this upcoming holiday season. The fact that visits to discount and dollar stores have exceeded visits to superstores such as Target and Walmart highlights just how well-positioned discount stores remain. 

Positive Signs Ahead of the Holiday Season

The continued strength of discount and dollar stores in the face of contracted consumer spending bodes well ahead of a holiday season that is sure to be closely watched. Though facing stiff competition from superstores, discount stores should be well-positioned to continue benefiting from consumer trade-down and positive foot traffic growth patterns. 

For more data-driven analysis, visit placer.ai/blog

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Placer.ai Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Placer.ai Office Index: January 2023 Recap
Focusing On Fitness: Q4 and January Recap
Placer.ai Mall Index: January 2023 – Returning Mall Normalcy?
Location Intelligence Insights Into Concert Attendance
Winning Dining Strategies for 2023
In-N-Out Burger: What to Expect as the Brand Moves East
Location Intelligence Breakdown: Coffee Caps-Off 2022
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Migration Trends
A Location Intelligence Perspective on Macy’s Rightsizing
Amazon-Powered Shopping: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery?
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts
Wawa and 7-Eleven: Leaning Into the “Slurpee Effect”
2022 and Beyond: Catching Up With McDonald’s & Chipotle
Let’s Have Some Fun! Going Out Is In
Placer.ai’s Q4 2022 Quarterly Index
Placer.ai Adds Industry Executives to Leadership Team To Drive Company's Next Phase of Growth
5 Emerging Retail Formats: 2023’s Brick-and-Mortar Evolution
Grocery Update: Zooming in on the Lone Star State
2022 Office Recap: The Year of the TGIF Work Week
What Lies Ahead for Brick-and-Mortar Luxury in 2023
Placer.ai Mall Indexes: December 2022 Recap
Looking Back on 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
Post-Pandemic Migration Trends in New York
Top Retailers for 2023
The Live Sports Advertising Opportunity
Domestic Migration to the Mountain States: Small Shifts with Big Implications
New Year, New Food: 5 Dining Trends For 2023
Announcing Placer.ai’s COVID RECOVERY DASHBOARD
This is Why Shop-in-Shops Are Everywhere
Super Saturday 2022 Recap
The San Francisco Shift
Grocery Year-End Update: Publix in the Spotlight
Three Ways Retailers Can Think Small to Increase Store Impact
Offline Beauty Is on an Upswing
The Evolving Migration Patterns of New York’s Florida Snowbirds
Placer.ai Office Index: November 2022 Recap
How Viral Social Media Trends Can Drive Offline Engagement
Are You Ready for Some Football? Experiential Marketing Shows Promise
Mall and Shopping Center Trends For 2023
Retail Corridors and Indoor Malls: A Holiday Head-to-Head
Placer Bytes: Nike, lululemon, and GameStop Update
Placer.ai Mall Indexes: November 2022 Update
Black Friday 2022: Consumers Hear the Call
Digitally Native Brands: Taking Off, Offline
Discount and Dollar Stores Leading the Pack
Turkey Wednesday 2022
Retail’s Evolving Holiday Season
Placer Bytes: Starbucks and Department Stores Ahead of Black Friday
Ulta: A Force to be Reckoned With
College Towns Drive Dining Growth
Foot Traffic Trends Reveal Consumers Ready for Holiday Cheer
How Retailers Can Win Big By Going Small
How Are Consumers Feeling Ahead of Black Friday 2022?
Off-Price, Hibbett, and Dick’s Pre-Holiday Check-in
Ho, Ho, Wholesale: Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s
October 2022’s Retail Rebound
Target and Walmart Ahead of the Holidays
Home Improvement: Leave it to the Pros
Despite Inflation, Holiday Season is Off to a Good Start
Placer.ai Office Index: October 2022 Recap
Placer.ai Mall Indexes- October 2022 Update
Americans Double Down on Fitness
The State of Grocery
CVS and Walgreens: The Wave Continues
Coffee Chains Brewing Up Visits
Placer.ai Spotlight: Pizza Players
What Drove COVID-Era Urban Migration Trends?
Kroger and Albertsons: A Merging of Strengths
Texas Roadhouse Innovations Dishing Up Success
Holidays on the Horizon: Mid-Range and Luxury Shopping
McDonald's and Chipotle's Post-Pandemic Success
Announcing Placer.ai’s Q3 2022 Quarterly Index
5 Hot Restaurant Brands for 2023
Target Finds a Winning Deals Day Formula
Five Trends to Watch for 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
September 2022 Analysis: A Difficult Month and Time for Optimism
Inflation’s Retail Winners
Five Apparel Retailers to Watch Ahead of the Holidays
Placer.ai Spotlight: Wawa’s QSR Pivot
Placer.ai Mall Indexes: September 2022 Recap
Placer.ai Office Indexes: September 2022 Recap
The Impact of Population Growth on Commercial Real Estate 
Starbucks' New Makeover
There's Somethin' About Pumpkin
Expanding Offline Reach
Breakfast Restaurants are Rising in Popularity
The Power of Labor Day 2022
Tourism in Miami Heating Up
Citi Trends on the Rise
Reaching Rural Consumers Through Retail Media Network
Darden Restaurants Cooking Up Success
The Home Improvement Sector: A Sign of Consumer Confidence
QSR Is Having a Northeastern Growth Spurt
Domestic Migration’s Ripple Effects
A Look Back at Back To School 2022
Kroger Digital Tell-All
The Return of In-Person Networking
The Reinvention of the American Mall  
Placer.ai Office Building Indexes: August 2022 Recap