When the recession sent pinched consumers hunting for bargains, dollar stores were ready. Cluttered aisles of cheap treasures have been replaced with stocked fridges and neat rows of mustard and canned beans. Half of US households now shop at dollar stores monthly, and 18% more $100,000-plus households started frequenting them at the end of 2008, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The three biggest chains are planning to open hundreds of new stores this year as their success outpaces discounters like Wal-Mart. The companies are already bracing for the recession’s end: They are confident that ads touting their stores as clean and easy will draw, and keep, richer clientele. “It doesn’t matter how much you earn, everybody loves a bargain,” says a marketer.