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Retail

Dollar Stores Double Their Share In Rural Areas Of US: Study

By Robert McHugh
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Dollar Stores Double Their Share In Rural Areas Of US: Study

Dollar stores are now the fastest-growing food retailers in the United States, and have doubled their share in rural areas, according to researchers at Tufts University.

Tufts University found that generally as the income of an American consumer goes up, they spend less of their budget at dollar stores. But they also found that in rural and low-income areas, consumers spend on average more than 5% of their food budget at dollar stores.

In particular, rural non-Hispanic Black households spend 11.6% of their food budgets in dollar stores. Households in the rural south also spend in the format in large numbers.

Popular dollar store banners include Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree.

Dollar Stores Expanding

The authors of the report say that while dollar stores previously focused primarily on personal care and craft items, they are now expanding their offer to include pre-packaged, shelf-stable food items.

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However, the researchers warn that while these items might be convenient, they often have sub-optimal nutritional value.

The report claims food and beverages stocked by dollar stores are typically lower in nutrients and higher in calories, while only a small percentage of such shops carry fresh produce and meats.

The researchers analysed how Americans use dollar stores to access food by analysing food-purchase data from the IRI Consumer Network, a nationally representative panel of about 50,000 households.

The data captured purchases from 2008 until 2020.

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'An Increasingly Important Role'

"Dollar stores play an increasingly important role in household food purchases, yet research on them is lacking," said Wenhui Feng, one of the authors of the study and an assistant professor of public health and community medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.

"Many localities have established policies such as zoning laws aiming to slow dollar store expansion, even though we don’t fully understand the role that they play."

The findings were published in January in the American Journal of Public Health.

© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Robert McHugh. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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