You Can Probably Find A Dollar Store Faster Than A Drugstore

Need something quick? You might be able to dash out and find a dollar store faster than you can spot a chain drugstore location. A new study says drugstores are being outpaced in numbers by the total amount of dollar stores in the U.S. says the dollar store is on the rise, as consumers scale back spending and cut their expenses with the cheapest products they can find. Accordingly, chains like Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Family Dollar are making leaps and bounds in their sales, which in turn, leads them to open new locations.

Dollar store locations have now surpassed the number of drugstores in the U.S., says a study by retail research firm Colliers International. Counting up the the four biggest national dollar chains and comparing them against the three biggest drugstore chains, there are 21,500 dollar stores against 19,700 drugstores.

Of course, there are some smaller drugstores left out there, and not all chains are included, like New York City’s Duane Reade.

The lure of dollar stores can be the appeal of convenience, or simply the fact that some towns that are too small to have a Walmart will likely still have a dollar store. And even if everything isn’t definitely a dollar in there, it can be a lot cheaper than other stores for grabbing stuff you need.

More Chain Dollar Stores Than Drugstores in the U.S., Says Study [Time]


Edit Your Comment

  1. caradrake says:

    “Four biggest dollar store chains” to the “three biggest drugstore chains” – seems like it’s already skewed in the dollar chain’s favor. What happens if you look at only the three biggest dollar stores?

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yeah, seems they decided on the conclusion of the story and then pieced together information to try and fit their previously drawn conclusion.

  2. bendee says:

    This also doesn’t take into effect all the pharmacy sections inside Wal-Marts, Targets, supermarkets, etc.

  3. Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

    In my home town there is a drug store on every corner. In the loop I can easily name two (soon to be three) wallgreens all within walking distance.

    Clearly this US study is full of meanness and lies.

    • redskull says:

      Here too. I keep telling people our town’s motto is “A chicken in every pot, and a drugstore on every corner.”

      Dollar stores may be on the rise, but so far I see no evidence they’re outnumbering drugstores.

      • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

        It’s good to know it’s not just my experience with this. I remember being little and seeing CVS, Rite Aid and Wallgreens popping up all over the place, seemingly over night.

      • nugatory says:

        must be city by city. Out here on the outskirts of Houston, I’ve got 3 drug stores within 10 minutes of me. I’ve got 5 dollar stores within 10 minutes of me.

        I’ve started thinking of Dollar stores like the plague, as they seem to be spreading to every single strip mall in the area.

  4. RobHoliday says:

    Of coarse this excludes Gods waiting room (Florida). You can’t go 2 blocks without seeing a drug store.

  5. BfloAnonChick says:

    Stuff in dollar stores may be cheaper, but I wouldn’t trust it’s quality, particularly for toiletry items. Anti-freeze in my toothpaste? No thank you.

    • DogiiKurugaa says:

      Most dollar stores do get in name brands as well as weird stuff. They just don’t get it in consistently. I have bought Crest Toothpaste, Listerine Mouthwash, and other such toiletries over the years at Dollar Tree.

      • Fumanchu says:

        Arm in hammer is a great example of this, plain old arm and hammer toothpaste is great and you usally find it for less than a dollar at these kinds of places.

  6. elangomatt says:

    Pfft, that is not the case around here in Chicagoland. You can barely go 3 blocks in some areas without running into a Walgreens. And CVS is everywhere as well.

  7. SkokieGuy says:

    My local Dollar Tree stores sell $1.00 pregnancy test kits…..

  8. DariusC says:

    Isn’t TIME just as liberal as Newsweek? That may explain the bias, seeing as how the drug stores support the medical industry which is predominantly big-wig right wingers. I’m thinking this study may be a middle finger from the liberals to the conservatives. But that means that dollar chains are mostly owned by liberals? /PoliticalConspiracy

    • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

      You got it all wrong bro, this study is really about communists infiltrating the united states to over throw the orange growers down in Florida. Everyone knows that communists need oranges to flourish and to oppress free will. Today Dollar Trees, tomorrow, Mother Russia.

  9. maxhobbs says:

    Yep, very unfair comparison since you don’t include the army of Walmarts’ and grocery stores that now have huge pharmacies inside of them.

  10. necrosis says:

    I don’t even know of a single dollar store near me and I am in the city. CVS’s and Rite Aid’s are all over the place however.

  11. Mackinstyle1 says:

    Not where I live. Not by a mile. I think my city of 300 000 has 4 or 5 dollar stores and easily dozens of pharmacies (which doesn’t feel like too many because some are part of grocery stores). I’d say it’s because it’s a fairly wealthy city, but even so, there’s two Universities and students freakin’ love dollar stores!

  12. Dallas_shopper says:

    In my neighborhood there’s about an equal number of drugstores and dollar stores. I don’t use the dollar stores, I don’t trust the merch there.

  13. Straspey says:

    We have a great CVS a few blocks from where I live. Walk there in five minutes and the pharmacists are the best.

    Conversely, we had a local coffee shop close down back in the summer, and it was taken over by a small, family-owned-and-operated “Dollar Store”

    When they were starting to do work on the storefront, I had a friendly chat with one of the proprietors and asked him if he was opening up a “99-Cent Store” ?

    He replied, “OH NO – much better quality items. Closeouts from Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s. All high-quality seconds.”

    I thought that was wonderful and it would be a great addition to the neighborhood.

    Unfortunately, the guy was bold-faced lying right through his teeth and into my face.

    The store is dripping, wall-to-wall, with cheapest garbage and low-class shit you can possibly imagine. I have made a promise to myself to *never* to set foot into the store – ever.

    In fact, there’s a larger 99-Cent store a good six or eight blocks away, which has been at that location for many years – and I will certainly walk down there rather than setting foot into this guy’s store.

    The rent on his storefront has to be high because it’s right by a major public-transportation hub. Every time I walk by his place – which is almost every day – I never see more than two or three people inside, and more often it’s empty. Hopefully he won’t be there very long.

    I have nothing against dollar stores. They serve an important purpose, especially in this economy – but seeing this topic just made riled up about that asshole who smiled and told everybody – “Quality closeouts – no junky 99-cent stuff”.

    Yah –

  14. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    I thought that was the Dollar Tree near my house, it’s got the same unlit letter.

    I’d never buy medicine there, CVS brand “dayquil” is about as low-budget as I need to go, and I can convince myself it doesn’t have “extra” ingredients like lead or turpentine.

  15. snobum says:

    Try walking a block in NW DC without finding at least one CVS. I dare you.

  16. johnrhoward says:

    There is a CVS or Walgreens on every corner here.

    Also, Dollar Tree is not the same as Family Dollar or Dollar General. Dollar Tree sells things for $1. The other two sell all kinds of things at lots of different prices.

    • Fumanchu says:

      lol yeah, i remeber going into a place that called it self a dollar store and the vast majority of the goods were well over a dollar

    • Yomiko says:

      Yeah, I was going to bring this up. I know for a fact that Dollar General is not, in fact, a “dollar store” but a discount store with “dollar” in the name.

  17. Fumanchu says:

    Why do I have the feeling that the same people the decry that all the jobs in the US are being moved overseas are the same people that frequent dollar stores? (things that cost a dollar are almost never made in the US)

    • topgun says:

      Not necessarily true. I can think of at least 20 items I buy regularly at Dollar Tree that are made in the USA.
      Paper products, cleaning supplies, food, Reynolds wrap, over the counter meds just to name a few. I always look at the country of origin (a quirk maybe?) I try really hard to buy American.
      Percentage wise I’m guessing their American made items are about the same as any store.
      P.S. I also try to avoid self serve checkouts to keep Americans employed.

  18. Outrun1986 says:

    There are dollar stores pretty much everywhere here, brand name chain dollar stores like Dollar Tree and Dollar General (though that isn’t really a dollar store). The independent dollar stores like 99 cent city are here but many plaza’s and retail locations are driving them out as they can’t afford the rent and the quality of what they sell is dubious. You are safe at the chain dollar stores though.

    There is a dollar store right next to a pharmacy here, the fact that things cost 5x as much at the pharmacy as they do at the dollar store probably kills their business. If I need a bottle of tylenol I am running to the dollar store instead of paying $10 for it at the pharmacy. These stores are booming here, some people don’t want to stop at a big box retailer if they just need something quick, but ironically it usually takes longer to get through the line at the dollar store because these stores are so busy.

  19. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    and if you are looking for a drug store for something health related, who else checks the products and dates REALLY carefully at the dollar store? i get my vitamins there, but i tend to worry about their quality.
    and i’ve seen pregnancy tests at the dollar store… does anyone actually use those and if you have, did you trust the results? it may be the exact same product in a different package, i don’t know. never used either kind. but that’s the kind of thing i’d feel like i wouldn’t trust a dollar store product on.

    • msgogo says:

      they’re more or less the same thing. The dollar store ones are more likely to be pretty bare- i.e.more of a test strip and not so fancy a plastic housing.

  20. lucky13 says:

    Poppycock! In a country where there’s a Walgreens or CVS on every corner not already occupied by a Starbucks (not to mention the obligatory pharmacy in every grocery and department store), the only way dollar stores would outnumber pharmacies is to combine with the pharmacies.

    Hmmm…I’m starting to see a new business model here…the Dollar Drug store!

  21. Gravitational Eddy says:

    I just did a google for drugstores and hand counted them.
    There’s over 80 drugstores here now!
    Drugs must be good business.
    Remind me why we have a war on drugs.

  22. smo0 says:

    I see the sketchiest people coming out of dollar stores.
    I’ve been in one I think… all of twice in my life time.
    I refuse to go.
    I think my boyfriend bought some plastic cooking spoons there.
    They are so tiny and flimsy, they barely stand their own shape when I stir hot liquid.
    Yeah… F**k dollar stores, sorry.

  23. SheTastesLikesCigerecxh says:

    Besides $1 preggo tests, I also pick up the marijuana tests and cheap mirrors for $1.

  24. nicoleintrovert says:

    Family Dollar and Dollar General aren’t even dollar stores. (I wasted 2 years of my life as an assistant manager at the latter.) They are supposed to be a throwback to the “general stores” of yore. Or the 5 and Dime or whatever they were in a time before my arrival. I don’t see how they compare. Dollar Tree sells a bunch of crap. Family Dollar and Dollar General sell some generic brands, but the majority of the inventory for things like cleaners, medication, and food are name brands just like are in the grocery store or other large box stores like Target or Wal-Mart. You can get name brand Day-Quil at Dollar General, I know, I used to have to order it after it was all shoplifted.

  25. AngryK9 says:

    There are two dollar stores within one-and-a-half miles from my house, and only one drug store…

  26. bobloblaw says:

    i just moved to the south from NY/NJ area, and man, they are all over. Seriously, theres more dollar stores here than dunkin donuts in New England.

    • brinks says:

      As a former resident of MA, I have to say that’s impressive. There’s literally a Dunkin Donuts within 5 minutes of everywhere out there.

      But there are at least three dollar stores within 5 minutes of me, so that’s a great comparison.

  27. djdanska says:

    Not in chicago. There’s a walgreens, cvs, and osco in every freaking corner!

  28. brinks says:

    There are at least three dollar stores within five minutes of me, and that’s just driving in ONE direction.

    I wouldn’t buy anything there that I rely on a drugstore for. However, dollar stores are great for one-time use decorations (like for events at work) and basic stuff that’s still seems overpriced at big box stores, like safety pins, votive candles, and wooden spoons. I know everything I get there is full of lead, but it’s worth it if I try not to lick or touch anything I buy there.

  29. pittstonjoma says:

    I love Family Dollar. I try to shop there instead of Wal-mart.