Dollar General preps private brand expansion, redesign

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Dollar General said the Gentle Steps store brand was a standout in 2019 and expect to expand it in 2020.

Make it 30 straight years of same-store sales growth for Dollar General.

The retailer reported a 3.2% bump in annual same-store sales for 2019, during its earnings call, but also said it was the biggest sales increase for its private brands in six years. 

On the store brand side, COO Jeff Owen said the Studio Selection and Gentle Steps lines were the big standouts — both lines are expected to get an expansion in 2020. Studio Selection products include hair, skin and beauty products; Gentle Steps is the retailer’s baby line.

“We also believe there is significant opportunity with other brands as well,” he said. “In fact, our plans this year include the rebranding of several additional product lines, including stationery, laundry, hardware, automotive, pet food and party.”

Another brand set for a redesign, per Own, is Clover Valley, its highest-selling private label that garnered more than $1 billion in sales in 2019. The food and beverage line has been upping its healthy options to fit in with the retailer’s “Better-For-You” initiative with more fresh grocery and healthy foods.

“This product line consists of a variety of Better-For-You options at low prices, and approximately 5,600 stores with plans to expand to more than 8,000 stores by the end of the year,” he said.

Also during the call, Dollar General did say it plans to open 1,000 more stores and move 80 current stores in 2020.

The overall sales reporting showed a net income for Dollar General at $27.8 billion, a net sales increase of just over 8%; same-store sales rose nearly 4%. In the fourth quarter period ending Jan. 31, income totaled $535.4 million.

“Our full-year results were highlighted by double-digit diluted EPS growth, as well as our 30th consecutive year of same-store sales growth,” CEO Todd Vasos said, Dollar General. “Our value-and-convenience proposition continues to resonate with both new and existing customers, and our unique real estate footprint remains a competitive advantage. As we enter 2020 from a position of strength, we will continue to keep our core customer at the center of all we do, while remaining steadfast in our efforts to deliver long-term shareholder value.”