Ranking the Dollar Stores: Which Ones Are the Biggest?

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Dollar Stores are … well, everywhere. They’re in small towns. Big cities. In the suburbs. In the exurbs. Even sometimes in the middle of nowhere. Because they’re small, the dollar store companies can build a lot more of them. Walmart, one of the biggest retailers in the world, has less than 5,000 stores in the United States … far less than the big dollar store players.

So who is the biggest, then? How do the dollar store chains compare in size?

Here, then, is a ranking of the biggest dollar store chains in the United States.

1. Dollar General

Dollar General is, by a significant margin, the largest dollar store chain in the United States. In fact, it’s the third-largest chain of any business in the U.S., trailing only Subway and Taco Bell / Pizza Hut / KFC parent company Yum! Brands. At the time of this post, Dollar General boasts over 17,200 store locations in America, and it continues to grow. DG, a publicly traded company, rakes in nearly $30 billion in revenue every year. Dollar General is famous — and infamous — for being just about everywhere, including food deserts.

2. Dollar Tree

The Dollar Tree company actually owns two dollar store chains: 1) Dollar Tree and 2) Family Dollar, which Dollar Tree purchased in 2015. Collectively, the whole Dollar Tree store portfolio totals more than 15,500 stores in the United States.

Given that Dollar Tree owns Family Dollar, it might surprise you to hear that there are more Family Dollar Stores than Dollar Tree stores. According to the most recent publicly available data, Family Dollar consists of more than 8,000 stores. That leaves 7,000-7,500 for Dollar Tree. Even if you count Family Dollar and Dollar Tree as separate chains, they still are the biggest dollar store chains behind Dollar General.

3. Five Below

Five Below isn’t your typical dollar store chain — it doesn’t sell much in the way of food and drinks aside from a few snacks and sweets, for example — but it certainly follows the same budget price model you see with other stores. Aimed more at the tween and teen market, most of the items at Five Below are $5 or less. The store is relatively new compared to the others, as it was founded in 2002. Like Dollar General and Dollar Tree, Five Below is a publicly traded company.

Five Below is a distant third (or fourth, if you count the two Dollar Tree chains separately) in this space. Right now, the chain has 1,100 stores in the United States.

4. 99 Cents Only Stores

Whether you’ve heard of this chain depends on where you live. Founded in 1982, 99 Cents Only operates in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. This store is primarily an extreme discounter like Dollar Tree, with many products at 99 cents, but there are some products that cost more than that. The chain operates a little under 400 stores, which is well below that of any of the other chains, including Five Below.

About Joshua

Joshua is the Co-founder of Dollar Store Reviewer. He is also a writer and novelist. You can learn more about him at joshuaajohnston.com.

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