This is a keenly uninsightful look at dollar stores. You only need to visit a couple to understand how safe the bet is:
- They open in ex-grocery stores that were too small to be updated when the whole world decided it just wasn't a grocery store without an olive bar
- They stock perishables in locations where the refrigeration equipment was left in situ by the bankruptcy probate, but only as cart fillers
- They purchase close-out, OEM or nearly-perished dry goods and warehouse them at their locations until they're gone
- They do minimal branding, advertising or other outreach and sign short-term leases
I mean, Grocery Outlet does the same thing. So, really, does Trader Joe's, it's just that Trader Joe's spends more on branding. The dollar stores don't have to bet on shit - they know that if they can go to a poor neighborhood and sell smaller quantities of lower-quality merchandise, they won't pay much in rent, they won't pay much in salary and they make plenty-good margins. Since they have no capital expenditures to speak of they turn a profit.
If you want to see the real story, check out their stock price since 2009. It's not that the dollar stores are betting on a permanent underclass.
It's that the investment class is betting on a permanent underclass.