Dollar General

Dollar General Goes Upscale With Surprising New Chain

Many retailers struggled during the pandemic, but not Dollar General. It opened a staggering 1,000 new stores last year and didn't stop there: It also quietly launched a new chain called Popshelf. So far, about 16 Popshelf locations have sprung up across Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, and they don't look anything like the dollar stores you're used to.

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

About 50 Popshelf locations will be open by the end of 2021, according to Retail Dive. The stores are small — roughly 9,000 square feet, comparable to most dollar stores — but Dollar General executives have big plans, saying as many as 3,000 locations could eventually open nationwide. They also plan to test Popshelf as a store-in-a-store inside select Dollar Generals. 

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.  

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