Richard W. Dreiling has successfully smoothed a path for Dollar General Corp. right through the economy’s ups and downs.
When Dreiling became CEO and chairman at the Goodlettsville, Tenn., corporation in 2008, the U.S. economy was tumbling.
But changes he made over the next few years kept the company on track for continued growth.
“Dollar General had another outstanding year in 2012,” Dreiling told SN. “We grew our market share and invested strategically to continue to win with our customers.”
Dreiling also alluded to changes made early in the company’s fiscal year to appeal to new customers.
“Our successful business model is based on meeting the everyday needs of a broad base of customers,” he said.
Early this year, Dollar General streamlined category management, and tweaked product mix and SKUs.
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“We tried to get all our category management work done in the first quarter of this [fiscal] year,” Dreiling said at a recent investors’ meeting.
“We believe that we have a tremendous opportunity for comp growth at the end of the year, and we wanted to get all of those initiatives done as quickly as possible.”
Earlier, Dollar General had added more national brands, giving customers more choices though margins tightened. Explaining a change to remedy that, Dreiling told investors, “All that was flexible. It’s a matter of letting that sell out, and readjusting the set.”
Dollar General cut national-brand SKUs and expanded the private-label mix. There is opportunity for margin growth, too, through sourcing, warehousing and transportation, Dreiling said. He also told investors shrink controls were strengthened.
Even as Dreiling concentrates on boosting sales and margins, he’s serious about expansion.
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During a conference call with financial analysts in June, he said the company was continuing to expand.
“Through the first quarter, we opened 165 stores including 10 Dollar General Markets and eight Dollar General Plus formats. Compared to the past couple of years, our store pipeline is very robust, and we are ahead of where we were at this time last year,” he said.
At the time of the investor call Dollar General had 10,664 stores.
“Our new stores are continuing to deliver strong performance that is exceeding our plans.”
In addition, Dreiling said Dollar General remodeled or relocated 207 stores. Of these 207 stores, 44 were the larger format Dollar General Plus stores.
“The DG Plus format is a great tool for relocation, and we were driving higher baskets given the expanded perishable assortment in those stores.”
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