NPR’s Planet Money discusses the proliferation of dollar stores and their effect on rural America. Here’s a snippet from the transcript of the discussion:
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: A new dollar store will open up every six hours this year in this country. There are more dollar stores than there are Walmarts and McDonald’s combined, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which is an advocacy group. How do those dollar stores affect a community? Sarah Gonzalez of NPR’s Planet Money podcast has more.
SARAH GONZALEZ, BYLINE: There are more than 30,000 dollar stores in the U.S. By comparison, there are about 5,000 Walmarts. And Stacy Mitchell with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance says dollar stores are threatening the small businesses that survived Walmart.
STACY MITCHELL: It’s as though they’re coming into a compromised ecosystem. It’s like an invasive species.
GONZALEZ: Mitchell says dollar stores are oversaturating communities.
MITCHELL: When you’re coming into places that are absolutely saturated already with your stores and you decide to open more, I mean, that’s a bid to so sort of dominate the local retail scene that no one else can compete with you.
GONZALEZ: The three main dollar store chains turned down requests for a recorded interview. But the dollar store that is growing the fastest – Dollar General – did say that their customers are only willing to travel three to five miles to shop with them, which is why they opened so many stores so close to each other. But in north Tulsa, Okla., city councilwoman Vanessa Hall-Harper says there are too many. There is no place in her district that’s more than a mile from another dollar store.
Read more here.
Listen to the entire discussion below: