Dollar General is taking over rural America, and it should terrify Walmart

  • Dollar General is expanding rapidly in the United States. In 2017, it opened new locations at a rate of around four stores a day. In 2018, a total of 900 more Dollar General stores are slated to open at a rate of about three stores a day.
  • According to data from GlobalData Retail, 75% of the population is now within five minutes from a Dollar General store. Meanwhile, 37% live within five minutes of a Walmart store, and 90% within 15 minutes of a Walmart.
  • Dollar General is looking to compete with Walmart by rolling out more fresh produce to its stores and make them a suitable place to pick up midweek groceries. 

Dollar General is on a path to dominate America, and it should terrify Walmart.

The discount store, which is known for being a bargain hunter's paradise, has been described as growing at a pace that is largely "unthinkable" in retail.

In 2017, Dollar General opened new locations at a rate of around four stores a day. In 2018, a total of 900 more stores are slated to open at a rate of about three stores a day.

Read more:We shopped at Dollar Tree and Dollar General to see which offered a better shopping experience, and the winner was unmistakable 

RELATED: Never purchase these 'toxic' items at dollar stores: 

Never buy these toxic items from the Dollar Store
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Never buy these toxic items from the Dollar Store

Plastic food containers

Although they’re considered a bargain at dollar stores, and they’re super convenient in terms of organizing your kitchen, plastic food containers may contain pthalates. which cause reproductive problems in lab animals and are found in high levels, especially in women, in the U.S. population. Over 30 percent of some dollar store products tested had higher levels than are recommended in products used for children. They may also contain bisphenol-S (BPS)—which you’ll find in many BPA-freeproducts and which might be just as dangerous as BPA—the chemical just hasn’t been researched as much.


Plastic wrap and packaged foods

Like plastic food containers, wraps and the plastic commercial packaging on food products from candies to meats may contain pthalates and BPS. With that in mind, you may want to rethink your use of plastic wrapping. Here’s how Saran Wrap has tried to detox their plastic wrap.


Toys made before 2008

Just because an item doesn’t have an expiration date doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to buy it. Sometimes dollar stores sell factory closeouts, which means some of their stock may be old, and sometimes that means that as far as the consumer is concerned, they’re past their expiration date. For example, plastic toys made before 2008 are more likely to contain pthalates than toys made since 2008, the year that pthalates were banned from being included in children’s toys.


Anything vinyl

Pthalates are also used in just about everything made out of vinyl—they keep the vinyl flexible. Here’s a list of items made with vinyl. At the dollar store, you are very likely to see vinyl placemats, shower curtains, bibs, backpacks, novelty watchbands, mattress covers and pool toys.


Power cords and other electronic accessories

When Healthy Stuff, a project of the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, tested a variety of dollar store items for toxic chemicals, they gave Dollar General an F on their report card. Among other things, they found that many electronic accessories such as USB cords, cell phone chargers and extension cords tested high in chlorine, a toxic chemical of concern and also a sign that the items are made from vinyl. You might want to stick to electronics stores for these accessories.


Certain cleaning products

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen found in a variety of cleaning products, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To avoid toxic chemicals altogether, pick up some baking soda at the dollar store and use it for these 50 clever ways you can clean with it.


Some personal care products

Speaking of formaldehyde, this list also contains personal care products you are likely to find in dollar stores that may contain formaldehyde, especially if they are factory closeouts. Some of the more recognizable brands include Irish Spring, SoftSoap, and even Gerber.


Fruit juices

We all know that arsenic is acutely poisonous, but inorganic arsenic is also a suspected carcinogen, even in smaller doses found in certain fruit juices.


Styrofoam cups and plates

Styrene is a known carcinogen. It’s widely used in the manufacturing of styrofoam cups, plates and packing peanuts—and a lot more. Here’s a list of some styrene-containing products.


Black plastic kitchen utensils

Bromine, which is linked to cancer and birth defects, is a component in some flame retardants. It’s been banned, but it may have made its way into cheaper, older versions of the ubiquitous black plastic kitchen utensils. It’s best to avoid buying these in the dollar store: stick with stainless steel utensils instead.


Bug spray

No one likes a pantry pest, but if you try to eliminate them using chemical pesticides, you may be increasing your risk of cancer. Chemical pesticides are also found in flea collars and tick-repellents. Some natural oils seem to repel ticks and are also safe for people and pets. Peppermint, thyme, eucalyptus and cedar oil are a few. But you probably won’t find those at the dollar store!

Want to know more? Another helpful dollar store report lists, in detail, specific dollar-store products that may be hazardous to your health. If you’re left feeling a little flustered by all the chemicals on store shelves, turn to these great ways to detox your kitchen.



Its strategy in the early 2000s, when it started to grow, was to go where Walmart wasn't. This meant that the majority of its stores in the United States were located in rural and suburban areas. It now has 14,761 stores across 44 states. 

According to data from GlobalData Retail, 75% of the US population is now within five minutes of a Dollar General store. 

Meanwhile, 37% live within five minutes of a Walmart store, and 90% within 15 minutes of a Walmart, Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, told Business Insider on Tuesday. 

Dollar General is not only putting Walmart under pressure by expanding its physical presence in the US but also by expanding its assortment. 

Dollar General has long been known for offering non-perishables. However, in an effort to draw in more frequent visitors, it has brought fresh produce to 450 locations. This enables it to better compete with Walmart and become the go-to place for a mid-week shop for some consumers. 

On Tuesday, it continued its 28-year-long sales-growth streak, reporting a 2.8% increase in same-store sales during the third quarter of 2018.

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SEE ALSO: Dollar General is dominating in America. Here's how it keeps its prices so low.

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