If You Shop at Dollar General, Prepare for This Major Change

Roughly 200 locations of the popular dollar store chain could be affected.

Dollar General is rapidly expanding across the U.S. According to Forbes, the discount retailer is opening up three new locations every day, giving customers more options to take advantage of its everyday low prices. But in addition to increased access and affordable pricing, many shoppers rely on Dollar General for a quick and easy shopping experience. Now, the retailer has announced a major change to its business model that could change the way you shop—and it might be coming to a store near you. Read on to find out what change Dollar General has planned for approximately 200 locations.

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Dollar General has been making a number of changes this year.

the outside and sign of a Dollar General Store in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
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Dollar General capitalizes on its low pricing to help attract and maintain its customer base. In fact, the company has recently started to advertise its $1 prices in order to better compete with Dollar Tree, Michael Montani, an analyst for investment bank company Evercore, told ABC-affiliate KAKE in Wichita, Kansas.

Its $1 products are also being positioned more strategically and clearly designated with signage, the news outlet reported. But while Dollar Tree executives haven't spoken about these moves in relation to a rivalry with Dollar Tree, they did recently comment on a different store initiative, which is currently being set in motion.

There may only be one way to check out at your local Dollar General.

shopper using self-checkout
adriaticfoto / Shutterstock

Many of us love using self-checkout, quickly scanning our items, swiping a credit card, and heading out the door. Other shoppers, however, enjoy interacting with a cashier and having help with the purchasing process. If you shop at Dollar General, the latter option could soon be eliminated.

As reported by Grocery Dive, the retailer is currently testing self-checkout as the only way to purchase items. The announcement came during a May 26 earnings call, with Jeff Owen, chief operating officer for Dollar General, who started that the process will be put in place at 200 stores over the course of 2022. Officials did not confirm which locations would be piloting the exclusive self-checkout model.

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Self-checkout is already an option at some Dollar General stores.

couple swiping credit card at self-checkout
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Self-checkout is currently available at 8,000 of Dollar General's 18,356 U.S. locations, but the company hopes to push that number to 11,000 by the end of 2022, Owen said on the call. Dollar General's change is largely attributed to increasing costs and a need to "remain attractive to its customer base," Grocery Dive reported.

"As a result of the success of self-checkout and popularity with customers, we have recently launched a pilot of stores that are entirely self-checkout," Owen said on the call, adding that Dollar General has seen "strong customer adoption rates" by adding this option.

The plan is part of Dollar General's Fast Track Initiative, Owen said, adding that goals include "increasing labor productivity in our stores, enhancing customer convenience, and further improving on-shelf availability." The first phase of Fast Track involved optimizing how Dollar General stores are stocked, and the second component is focused on self-checkout.

The retailer will still have employees, but they will play other roles.

exterior of a dollar general location
George Sheldon / Shutterstock

According to Owen's statement on the earnings call, Dollar General associates will still have jobs, even if the purchasing process is fully converted to self-checkout.

"While our associates will remain available to assist customers if needed in these stores, we believe this 100 percent self-checkout option could further enhance the convenience proposition, while enabling our associates to dedicate even more time to serving customers," Owen said.

There will also be more Dollar General locations in need of employees, as the retailer plans to open another 1,110 new stores this year. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, 239 new Dollar General stores opened their doors.

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