MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In Monday’s Ransom Note: hardly anywhere is the growing gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots' due to the COVID-19 pandemic more apparent than with the success of dollar stores. According to the Washington Post, a growing number of Americans are relying on dollar stores for their everyday needs including groceries. Nearly half of all new retail expected to open this year nationally will be dollar stores, 1,650 of them. Foot traffic at Dollar General Stores is up 32% since before the pandemic, Dollar Tree traffic is up 19%, and Family Dollar stores are up 11%. That's way more than Walmart's 3%.
Economists say the pandemic has exposed how many Americans have been forced to work fewer hours while inflation takes out a bigger bite of their paychecks. They also worry dollar stores can crowd out other retailers so much in poorer communities they can be a leading cause of food deserts. To fight back, in Oklahoma City's poorest neighborhoods, dollar stores must either have a pharmacy or dedicate 500 square feet to fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat, which is an idea that might be worth looking into.