Thursday, November 21, 2013

The New Dime Stores

They aren't Woolworths or McCrory's. Not Kresge’s either, even though they morphed into K-marts. Nope, no lunch counters! In fact, none of today's reincarnated dime stores have any of the amenities of the stores I grew up with. There are no soda fountains to be found anywhere today, and certainly no stools to sit on. There are no longer any lunch counters where you can sit and have a cherry coke and a grilled cheese sandwich with a pickle. Things have changed socially as far as meals and fast food, but not the marketing concept of selling to the everyday housewife.

Today's five and dime stores are called Dollar Tree, Family Dollar Store, Dollar General, or even Big Lots, but they are still reinvented dime stores, simply renamed to account for inflation. The products they carry are a mirror image of what was ideologically sold by their predecessors; ie, common household items priced so the everyday shopper can afford them. The new, low-end retail stores have flourished everywhere in the country long after the traditional dime stores have gone the way of blacksmiths and harness shops.

The smaller stores require far less overhead than the mega-stores such as Wal*Mart or K-Mart, and can be found just about everywhere on the outskirts of just about every community in America. They don't need the constant flow of thousands of customers to show a profit. 

Dollar Tree, Inc., where everything in the store costs one dollar, reported in their 2012 Annual Statement that their 4671 retail stores brought in 7.4 billion dollars in net sales. Family Dollar Stores, Inc's, annual statement lists 9.33 billion dollars in net sales through 7442 stores. Family Dollar stores sell many products costing more than a dollar, but inexpensive goods are their staple products. Big Lots, Inc., which is also known for low prices on everything from groceries to furniture, brought in 5.4 billion through just 1574 stores.

But hold your horses, Dollar General, Inc., with 10,506 stores, brought in a whopping 16 billion dollars in net sales!

That's a little over 38 billion dollars in net sales just between those four retailers. For those who think in terms of how many dollars would that would be stacked toward the moon, it's 38 thousand millions, which would be quite a bit taller than me even if you stacked one-million dollar bills. In fact, according to ( ) using one-million dollar bills, the stack would be just under 13 feet high.

And they did it without selling a single grilled cheese sandwich.

1 comment:

TonysVision said...

You would enjoy our Downtown Auburn, George and Ilse. Our drug store has an honest to goodness soda fountain with those round stools, even a marble counter. And a block away is that little restaurant where you can sit at the counter to munch your grilled cheese sandwich.