Dollar General Plans to Open Nearly 1,000 Stores, Invests in Omnichannel Strategy

Rob Scruggs, DG's first Chief Digital and Customer Engagement Officer

Dollar General Corporation is set to execute 2,000 physical store projects in 2018 and up its digital game as well, hiring a new leader for its customer engagement strategy.

The retailer plans to open 900 new stores, and complete 1,000 store remodels and 100 store relocations in fiscal 2018.

"With solid new store productivity, we have the opportunity to significantly increase our mature store remodel program with the goal to touch each location approximately every seven to ten years," said Todd Vasos.

With its strong stores growth, Dollar General anticipates that 75% of the U.S. population will be within 5 miles of a Dollar General by the end of fiscal 2017.

Dollar General stores range from 3,500 square feet to 16,000 square feet. Of the 1,000 plan store remodels, approximately 400 locations are planned to be in the Dollar General traditional plus format with 34 cooler doors for increased perishable selection.

"Our cooler door expansion has proven to drive baskets and trips with our customer base, while also attractive new customers with the expanded offering," noted CFO John Garratt.

Dollar General will also work on store operations in 2018, aimed at freeing up employees time to concentrate on customer service. This includes working on space optimization and simplifying operations in stores by reducing inventory, operating complexity and product movement within stores. The retailer will also work to improve checkout speed and will continue to invest in manager training. The company's store management turnover for 2017 is on track to be at the lowest level in the recorded history of the company.

"We are excited about how engaged our workforce is across our business," said Vasos. "I believe that this has helped to contribute to improvement and our overall customer satisfactions scores, which are currently at the highest level of the year."

The retailer is also "strategically investing" to help customers utilize digital tools and resources for its personalized shopping experience.

Dollar General said it sees a continued opportunity to improve engagement and build loyalty through expansion of its digital footprint and further integration of its traditional and digital media mix. To assist with its digital and omnichannel plans Dollar General hired its first Chief Digital and Customer Engagement Officer, a new position created to help lead its customer engagement strategy, including digital experience and tools.

"This position should help accelerate our digital strategy as we continue to develop resources to personalized offerings for our customers to save time and money," said Vasos. "With more than 10 billion subscribers to the DG Digital Coupon Program, we have a great foundation to build on for the future."

Rob Scruggs took on the new position in October and brings over 17 years of experience focused on customer and user engagement. Scruggs most recently served as global director of client experience for Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he had responsibility for the end-to-end client experience for global commercial clients. Prior to that, he held customer experience roles at Asurion, E*TRADE and J.P. Morgan Chase.

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