Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

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

Dollar Store Summer Update

by 
Shira Petrack
 on 
August 19, 2021
Dollar Store Summer Update

Dollar and discount superstores thrived over the pandemic, and foot traffic analytics indicate that the category leaders are not slowing down just yet. 

Holding on to Pandemic Gains 

Five Below, unlike many of the other discount superstores, carries neither food nor groceries and was not open as an essential business in the early days of the pandemic. But the brand is more than making up for lost time now, with monthly visits up 32.7%, 36.9%, 25,7%, and 35.2% in April, May, June, and July, respectively, compared to the equivalent months in 2019. 

Dollar General, which has been diversifying its store fleet by adding the new “popshelf” concept and expanding its grocery offerings under the Dollar General Market banner, also seems to be holding on to many of the new customers acquired over the pandemic. In April, May, June, and July, monthly visits compared to 2019 have increased by 25.9%, 20.2%, 25.3%, and 32.5%, respectively.

And while Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Big Lots may not be posting the same astronomical growth as Dollar General and Five Below, all the brands analyzed have been seeing year-over-two-year visit increases. Monthly foot traffic to Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Big Lots was up 10.1%, 3.1%, and 3.6%, respectively, in June, and 19.3%, 11.3%, and 3.5%, respectively, in July, against a 2019 benchmark.

More Stores Equal More Visits

Part of the current foot traffic increase - and the likelihood of its continuation - can be attributed to new stores. Five Below already added 120 stores in 2020, and plans to open another 180 by the end of 2021, and Dollar Tree, which also owns the Family Dollar brand, has announced plans to open 600 Dollar Tree stores and 200 Family Dollar stores in 2021. Big Lots has announced a net total of 21 new stores in 2021, and Dollar General opened around 1000 new stores in 2020 and plans to open over 1000 more in 2021

Weekly visit data from the last couple of weeks indicates that the new stores are succeeding in attracting more customers. Visits to Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Five Below, and Big Lots over the first full week of August were up 11.1%, 20.3%, 17.7%, 36.0%, and 1.1%, respectively. 

And while Big Lots’s gains may look less impressive than those of the other discount leaders, keep in mind that the 2021 weekly visits are being compared to a particularly strong 2020. The discount retailer’s current weekly visit figures indicate that Big Lot is succeeding in holding on to its pandemic visit boost. 

Visits Per Customer on the Rise 

And while the larger store fleets undoubtedly contribute to the rise in visits, foot traffic data indicates that it is not the sole contributor – visits are also increasing because customers are returning to stores more often, a critically important sign of growing loyalty. The average number of visits per customer in May-July 2019 compared to May-July 2021 grew by 8.7%, 4.6%, 3.6%, 6.1%, and 2.0% for Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Five Below, and Big Lots, respectively. 

Crucially, the rise in visits per customer was not accompanied by a change in the median visit duration. This means that customers are not breaking up what used to be consolidated visits into multiple trips to dollar stores. Rather, the dollar and discount leaders are succeeding in drawing customers back to the store more regularly without sacrificing visit quality.  

Growth While Consumer Habits Not Fully Back to Normal 

Another key signal of the sector’s strength is that the across-the-board growth in visits is happening while consumer habits are still readjusting to the pandemic disturbance. As recently as June-July, the proportion of evening visits compared to morning and mid-day visits was still down for all the brands we looked at compared to June-July 2019. And while the shift from evening visits to morning and mid-day visits occurred across most retail sectors, other categories were not as successful in maintaining – let alone growing – the number of overall visits in the face of the disruption to consumer behavior. 

The ability to draw more visits under changing and dynamic consumer habits is a testament to the strength and long-term potential of these brands. Ahead of a critical Back to School season, the discount superstores seem well positioned to capture a significant share of parents looking for bargains. 

Will the discount superstore sector continue to thrive? Will consumers return to their pre-pandemic visit patterns? 

Visit Placer.ai to find out. 

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.
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024: Placer.ai’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains
Placer.ai Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top
Placer.ai and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap
Placer.ai Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season
Placer.ai Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023
Blockbusters Drive Movie Theater Comeback
Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success
McDonald’s and Chipotle's Winning Recipe
The State Of Steak: Checking in With Texas Roadhouse
Pleasant Pastimes: Pickleball Potential Proves Potent
Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?
Diving into Downtown Manhattan Foot Traffic Trends
Rite Aid: Rightsizing Right
Major League Soccer: Its Die-Hard and Casual Fans
The Anchor Recap: September 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: September 2023 Recap
Placer Mall Index Recap: September 2023
September White Paper Recap
The Consumer Habits of College Students
JCPenney: Rightsizing and Revitalizing
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: August 2023 Recap
Placer.ai Mall Index: August 2023 Recap
Placer.ai White Paper Recap: August 2023
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Strikes Again
Big Scoop: We All Scream For Ice Cream