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Dollar General

Dollar General Goes Upscale With Surprising New Chain

Many retailers struggled during the pandemic, but not Dollar General. 


The discounter opened a staggering 1,000 new stores last year, and it didn't stop there: It also quietly launched a new chain called Popshelf. So far, about 30 Popshelf locations have sprung up across six states, and they've been such a hit that Dollar General plans to open 1,000 Popshelf stores by 2025 — including 100 more next year.


Related: Things You Didn't Know About Dollar Stores


Popshelf aims to attract a more affluent shopper, but about 95% of items will still cost $5 or less. The bright, airy stores are heavy on trendy home decor, kitchen wares, craft supplies, and beauty products — items meant to cultivate a "stress-free and guilt-free shopping experience," Dollar General says. There are also some traditional dollar-store staples, including party supplies and snacks, and a "highly curated" smattering of items from Dollar General's private brands.


Who's the target customer? Maybe make that the "Target" customer: suburban women with an annual income between $50,000 and $125,000 — the bread-and-butter shopper of none other than Target. Retail analyst Joseph Feldman tells Retail Dive that Popshelf is "like an adult version of Five Below," and says the concept could also appeal to shoppers who frequent chains including HomeGoods, Big Lots, and Bed Bath & Beyond.


Related: Target Brand Products That Shoppers Love


The stores are small — roughly 9,000 square feet, comparable to most dollar stores — but Dollar General executives say the average order size and value is higher than that at Dollar General's namesake stores. 


Curious about what you'll find? A quick scan of the virtual shelves shows items including trendy Edison bulb desk lamps, bento boxes for school lunches, metallic storage baskets, and scented candles galore. And while you can't shop Popshelf online quite yet, shoppers who have one in the neighborhood can place orders online for in-store pickup.  


Dollar stores have been moving away from rock-bottom prices, especially as inflation drives up the cost of goods. Dollar General competitor Dollar Tree recently made headlines for saying it would ditch its fixed $1 prices and instead charge $1.25 for most items. 


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