Dollar General: On the move

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Expectations of improved profitability at Dollar General mean the company will keep the pedal to the metal in terms of expansion.

(THE NEWS: Dollar General keeps growing. For the full story, click here)

The company already operates more stores in the United States than any other retailer, as it noted in the press release announcing fourth-quarter results. And that is a distinction it won’t relinquish any time soon with more aggressive expansion planned for 2011. By this time next year, the company will have roughly 10,000 stores due to the planned addition of 625 new units and 550 remodels.

That means more competition for chain drug stores, whose product assortments increasingly overlap with Dollar General, and other extreme value operators, who steadily have added food, consumables and health-and-beauty-aid items to their product mix during the past decade.

Brands are being emphasized, too. As Dollar General noted in its financial results release, it sells products from America’s most trusted manufacturers, including Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, Unilever, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Nabisco, Hanes, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.