Dollar store sales thriving in tough retail times

Maybe it isn't so surprising: Dollar store sales are going up, up, up!

And we're not talking peanuts here. Family Dollar Stores reported net sales of $715 million, in a five-week period ending July 5th, 2008, an increase of 10.7% from the same five-week period last year. The company opened 24 new stores in June, bringing the total number of Family Dollar Stores in operation to 6,562.

99 Cent Only stores reported sales of $304.9 million for the first quarter of its fiscal year ending June 28, 2008, which represents an increase of 4.1% over the same period last year. That ain't hay, considering that everything it sells in its 273 stores is only 99 cents. Eight new 99 Cent Only Stores opened during the first quarter of its fiscal year, with 12 more planned to open before the end of the fiscal year.

Dollar Tree stores did even better, with total sales of $1.051 billion -- yes, billion -- in its first quarter fiscal year. That's an increase of $7.8% over the same period last year and a whole heap of dollar bills being spent in this everything-for-a-dollar store. Dollar Tree operates 3,474 stores in 48 states as of May this year.

Dollar General also had a good start to 2008, with sales for the first quarter of $2.40 billion, up from $2.28 billion for the same period in 2007. It has plans to open 200 new stores this year along with relocating or remodeling about 400 others.

While a wounded economy has forced many retail stores to close up shop altogether, dollar stores are more than just surviving, they're thriving, as an ever-increasing number of people are discovering that you don't necessarily have to spend a lot to get a lot.

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes about dollar store decorating ideas at her website

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