Dollar General will invest nearly $100 million to increase labor hours for its more than 170,000 store employees in 2023 to enable “consistent store standards while further enhancing the associate and customer experience,” said CEO Jeffrey Owen on the company’s fiscal year 2022 earnings call.
The move comes as retailers continue to struggle to attract and retain store talent, leading to a wave of “labor hoarding,” primarily in the form of wage hikes, by the country’s largest retailers, including Walmart, Target, Kroger, Dollar Tree and Amazon. Dollar General already has raised its average hourly retail wage by 23% over the last three years and invested more than $4 million in employee education and development, Owen pointed out on the call, saying that “the reason why [this new investment will take the form of] hours rather than wages is because we’ve been paying competitive wages for many years.”
Owen hopes that the additional investment in staffing will not only help keep employees happy but also help Dollar General “capture additional market share by further enhancing store standards and the in-store experience.”
Dollar General added more than 10,000 net-new jobs in 2022 and that number will only grow as it continues its rapid expansion, which includes plans for 1,050 new store openings, 2,000 remodels and 120 store relocations in fiscal 2023. In January 2023, the retailer opened its 19,000th store in Joplin, Mo. and its first store in Mexico.
The company recorded strong sales in fiscal 2022, which ended Feb. 3, 2023, with net sales increasing 10.6% and same store sales up 4.3%.
“We made significant progress advancing our operating priorities and strategic initiatives in fiscal 2022, including executing nearly 3,000 real estate projects, completing the rollout of our non-consumables initiative, nearly tripling our pOpshelf store count, more than doubling the size of our private tractor fleet and opening three new distribution centers,” said Owen in a statement. “As a result, we believe we are well-positioned to continue serving our customers with our unique combination of value and convenience in the communities we call home.”