The changing retail landscape

Clark Behind The Headlines

From HLN's Money Expert Clark Howard

The National Retail Federation, the trade association for the nation's retailers, has put out a new report on who's growing and who's shrinking in retail. And I don't think it would surprise anyone that all the growth is in the discount category.

The retail stores that sell full price or are not known as discounters have just not been very exciting over the last year.  But when you look at the discounters – wow. I mean, unreal. Family Dollar, Dollar General, Dollar Tree –  these stores are all about real thrift.

In terms of the biggest of the bigs, Wal-Mart is four times larger than the next biggest retailer. Wal-Mart sales last year were nearly a third of a trillion dollars. They are soon going to sell a billion dollars worth of stuff on an average day.

The second-biggest retailer may surprise you: Kroger. The supermarket chain wasn’t considered a viable survivor in the new retail environment. But it adjusted better than anybody expected to a whole new thinking in people about how they want to spend. Kroger put a big emphasis on value and found a spot in the marketplace after getting a little lost early in the great recession.

In the supermarket category, Aldi had the biggest jump in position in terms of the 100 largest retailers in the country. Aldi is now the 44th largest retailer in America.  And Aldi has been in America for more than a generation, never with any significant growth until the great recession.

But the real story when I looked through the sales figures is the massive increase in sales of the deep discounters like Dollar General.

I shop regularly at Dollar General and they are now the 28th largest retailer in the United States. Their archrival, Family Dollar, is the 45th largest. If you have not tried these deep discounters like Family Dollar, Dollar General, and Dollar Tree, they are truly value-oriented. They're discount places with really, really low-priced goods.

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