Dollar General said it has completed the purchase of 41 former Wal-Mart Express locations in 11 states. The retailer said it plans to relocate 40 Dollar General stores to the sites that were acquired from Wal-Mart by October.
With the former Express locations, Dollar General will enter one new market, Coal Hill, Ark. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Wal-Mart in late January said it would close Express, a 102-unit chain of smaller stores with an average footprint of 15,000 square feet. Express’ shuttering was part Wal-Mart’s announcement that it would close 269 stores worldwide.
One of its smallest store formats, Express was seen as a vehicle for entering dense urban markets when the pilot was revealed in 2011. Many Express stores opened in rural markets in North Carolina and Georgia, with the exception of units in Chicago. At the time, a Wal-Mart spokesman said the economics of operating in cities has been difficult for the retailer to rationalize.
With 12,719 stores in 43 states as of April 29, Dollar General is among the largest discount retailers in the country. Wal-Mart has difficulty competing with the convenience of Dollar General’s stores, where parking is just outside the door. At one point, there were rumors that Wal-Mart was considering launching its own dollar-store concept; however, the idea manifested itself as a dollar aisle.
Todd Vasos, chief executive officer of Dollar General, said, “We look forward to the opportunity to better serve our customers in [the 41] communities by providing the convenience and value they expect from Dollar General.”
Communities served by the relocated stores will feature Dollar General’s new DG16 layout with additional square footage to accommodate expanded offerings such as fresh meat and produce. Dollar General said it also intends to operate gas stations in 37 of the locations.