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Booming dollar stores drawing one-third of U.S. conusmers

More than a third of consumers in a recent survey said they now shop at a dollar store, the highest percentage in the nation’s history.

And the big three in the industry, Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, are watching sales soar.

“There are a lot of things going on out there that just mystify,” said Britt Beemer, a retail analyst and founder of America’s Research Group, which reporteed the survey numbers.

“A third of Americans are now shopping at dollar stores? And they expect to shop there even more this year than they did last year.”

Family Dollar just last month reported record first-quarter sales of $1.99 billion, a 9.5 percent increase from 2010. Comparable store sales jumped 6.9 percent, the best result in 12 years.

Dollar General, which reported its third-quarter results in December, saw net sales jump 10.1 percent to $3.22 billion. Same-store sales rose 4.2 percent.

In January, the company announced its largest expansion in four years, saying it would open 625 new stores in 2011.

Gannett News Service

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