NEW YORK — The penny-pinching consumers of the recession have become penny-clamping consumers, and dollar stores are starting to feel the effects, according to published reports.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Dollar General Corp., Family Dollar Stores and Dollar Tree had all missed quarterly earnings targets. One major reason was a rise in diesel fuel costs for trucks, but key factors also included rising gas prices, unemployment and stagnant wages, which resulted in customers finding it difficult to buy discretionary items, even at dollar stores’ deeply discounted prices.
As a result, customers at the stores are buying more essentials, such as food and cleaning products, rather than clothing and home decorations. While all three chains posted same-store sales increases that remained fairly strong, those increases have been getting smaller, according to the Journal.