A dollar store will open a new location in Dubuque’s Asbury Plaza next month, filling a large vacancy in the shopping center and underscoring the continued growth of discount stores across the country.
Dollar Tree will open a 13,400-square-foot location at 2585 Northwest Arterial on Oct. 31, according to Manager of Investor and Media Relations Kayleigh Painter.
The discount retailer will fill the space formerly occupied by MC Sports, which closed its doors in 2016. A city-issued permit shows interior buildout costs for Dollar Tree will exceed $200,000.
“A store of this size typically employs 12 to 20 associates,” Painter wrote in an email to the Telegraph Herald.
It will be the third Dollar Tree in Dubuque, joining locations at 2050 John F. Kennedy Road and 220 S. Locust St. Parent company Dollar Tree Stores Inc. also owns stores operating under the Family Dollar moniker, including one located at 2013 Central Ave.
The opening of the new Dubuque store comes amid a busy year for Dollar Tree, which will see a net increase of at least 160 new stores in 2019.
The increase in the number of Dollar Tree stores is part of a broader trend in the discount sector.
Research firm Coresight Research estimated that discount shops will account for nearly two-thirds of the 2,780 retail stores opening nationwide in 2019.
The new Dollar Tree location in Asbury Plaza will be within the same shopping complex as another discount retailer. Five Below, which offers items for $5 or less, opened earlier this year at 2535 Northwest Arterial.
Loren Rice, an associate professor of accounting and business at Clarke University, believes discount stores have multiple advantages over their struggling counterparts in the retail industry.
Notably, dollar stores have been somewhat insulated from the impact of online competitors. That is because shoppers are unlikely to seek online savings for an item that costs $5 or less, but they will do so for pricier items.
“Big box stores are getting killed by that online competition,” Rice said. “But those online retailers aren’t as effective at competing with a store like Dollar Tree.”
Discount stores also are thriving in the current economic climate.
Rice said consumers generally break down into two general categories: a small group of the population that is thriving and a much larger group that is struggling. Dollar stores target the latter.
Over the past decade, salary growth has been slower than inflation. That trend has affected shopping habits for a large portion of the population.
“They are looking for less-costly options in their retail purchases,” Rice said.