Food sales up at Dol­lar Gen­eral, help­ing boost the com­pany’s profit

The Buffalo News - - BUSINESS NEWS - By Abha Bhattarai WASHINGTON POST SEND US YOUR NEWS: To be in­cluded in the On the Record list­ing, send your in­for­ma­tion to: fin@buffnews.com

It’s no se­cret that the re­tail in­dus­try is in tur­moil: Dozens of chains have filed for bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion this year, and many oth­ers are clos­ing hun­dreds of stores.

But Dol­lar Gen­eral, the Tennessee-based dis­count chain, is bucking the trend. The com­pany says sales rose 11 per­cent in the most re­cent quar­ter, as it beefed up its se­lec­tion of frozen foods and added pro­duce to some of its lo­ca­tions. It is open­ing about 900 new stores next year, and re­mod­el­ing 1,000 more.

The goal: To be­come as con­ve­nient as it is af­ford­able. The com­pany is fo­cus­ing not just on ru­ral ar­eas, where many of its cus­tomers al­ready stop by for ne­ces­si­ties, but also in larger metropoli­tan ar­eas where it is hop­ing to at­tract a new group of more af­flu­ent cus­tomers. By the end of this year, ex­ec­u­tives say 75 per­cent of Amer­i­cans will live within 5 miles of a Dol­lar Gen­eral.

“We con­tinue to believe we op­er­ate in one of the most at­trac­tive sec­tors in re­tail,” chief ex­ec­u­tive Todd Va­sos said in a Thurs­day morn­ing call with an­a­lysts. “Our cus­tomer loves the in-store trea­sure hunt for unique items.”

Over the past five years, the com­pany has ex­panded its snack and bev­er­age aisles, and nearly dou­bled the amount of freezer space in its stores to ac­com­mo­date more frozen piz­zas, ice cream and other grab-and-go items. A hand­ful of re­mod­eled stores are also of­fer­ing fresh food.

Dol­lar Gen­eral has also added more branded prod­ucts like Tide de­ter­gent, while ex­pand­ing its own line of pri­vate-la­bel items. It is also look­ing to re­vamp its health and beauty de­part­ments, in hopes of win­ning over shop­pers who might oth­er­wise buy items like sham­poo and makeup at drug­stores.

Dol­lar Gen­eral, which was founded in 1968, has more than $21 bil­lion in an­nual rev­enue. In the most re­cent quar­ter, sales rose 11 per­cent to $5.9 bil­lion, while profit climbed 4 per­cent to $252.53 mil­lion. The com­pany said bad weather across the coun­try also helped con­trib­ute to spend­ing at its stores.

Shares of the com­pany’s stock rose about 3 per­cent on Thurs­day to their high­est level in more than a year.

Com­pany Con­nec­tions

Hafner Fi­nan­cial Group,

The an in­de­pen­dent fi­nan­cial ser­vices ad­vi­sory firm, will move its of­fices from Wherle Drive to 5930 Main St. in Wil­liamsville.

Wheat­field Com­mons

,a DePaul Se­nior Liv­ing Com­mu­nity at 3920 For­est Park­way in North Ton­awanda, held a grand open­ing.

Con­tribut­ing Res­i­dents at the Green­Fields Con­tin­u­ing Care Com­mu­nity

in Lan­caster, pre­sented a check of over $10,000 to the Alzheimer’s As­so­ci­a­tion of Western New York.

West Herr Au­to­mo­tive Group

pre­sented Ni­a­gara Falls Me­mo­rial Med­i­cal Cen­ter with a 2017 Dodge Car­a­van. It will be­come an im­por­tant part of Me­mo­rial’s CAREx­press service, which trans­ports pa­tients to and from med­i­cal ap­point­ments at the hos­pi­tal and its out­pa­tient sites.

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