What can a dollar buy you these days? Unless you’re using a vending machine, the answer will probably be a resounding “not much.” That’s left dollar stores in a bit of a bind. What do you do when you can’t live up to your name anymore? How do you pivot?
Well, it seems like we now have an answer to that question: sell alcohol. That’s at least the approach Dollar Tree is planning on taking. This past week, the Chesapeake, Virginia-headquartered Fortune 500 company announced that it will begin selling alcohol at 1,000 of its 14,000+ locations in the near future.
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Technically, that alcohol will be sold at Family Dollar locations, a subsidiary brand and former rival that Dollar Tree acquired in 2015. Based on a company press release, the move is part of a “store optimization program” meant to improve what’s perceived as the sluggish growth of Family Dollar compared to Dollar Tree’s flagship brand.
The release mentions plans for “an expanded party assortment and an expanded number of freezer and cooler doors.” Specifically, 400 Family Dollar stores are set to get more freezers and coolers in fiscal year 2019, likely to make way for the plan to sell “adult beverage product” in those 1,000 stores. It sounds like the efforts are already underway as well: the company cites that 45 stores started selling alcohol in the first quarter of the year, with approximately 55 getting more freezer and cooler space.
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Otherwise, there’s little detail as of yet about what kind of “adult beverage product” Family Dollar/Dollar Tree will sell—not to mention the price point. The introduction of what they call Dollar Tree Plus!, a trial program to offer goods above Dollar Tree’s famous storewide $1 price point, suggests that there might be more than just $1 hooch on offer. Either way, it sounds like the program could be a relatively cheap way to get a buzz on once it rolls out across the country.
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