Wilkins’ keys to success with Dollar General

Dollar General VP/DMM consumables and personal care Mike Wilkins (above) told attendees of the Mack Elevation Forum what the company — which has been expanding its consumables (left), HBC and pet supply categories to broaden its appeal — looks for in vendor suppliers.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — To deliver the value of a supercenter with the convenience of a drug store — that is the essence of the Dollar General strategy.

Dollar General VP/DMM consumables and personal care Mike Wilkins told attendees at the Mack Elevation Forum in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 11 that the company looks for vendor suppliers who can help leverage Dollar General’s unique assets, including its 1 million Facebook fans and its exclusive Rexall brand. Dollar General also is looking for vendor suppliers that can deliver new insights, bring in new items that can be sold in store or online, and create promotional and celebrity events.

Dollar General’s model flourishes in good and bad economies, Wilkins explained. The chain has seen 22 consecutive years of same-store sales growth. It also has continued to evolve its store formats, both in terms of assortment and overall experience, to keep the model fresh and relevant. In addition, Dollar General has expanded consumables — specifically food, snacks and perishables — as well as HBC and pet supplies, to broaden its appeal beyond fill-in and treasure-hunt shoppers to primary-destination shoppers.

“A share group on steroids” — as described by program founder Dan Mack, EVP strategic business development for The Swanson Group — the Mack Elevation Forum brings together executives from noncompeting, mostly smaller and mid-sized companies, to examine critical business issues and learn from shared experiences, successes and failures. The October meeting focused on three key areas — in addition to the keynote from Wilkins — including understanding the DNA of innovative cultures and teams, how to strengthen business and positioning with Dollar General, and optimizing social media execution.

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