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Tennessee Works: Discount Retailers

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  WMOT News continues to search out those thin slices of the Tennessee economy that prospered during the economic downturn.

One sector that did reasonably well was what might be called low-end, or discount retailers. Chains like Walmart saw sales remain steady or even increase during the downturn as jittery shoppers looked to discount stores to help them stretch every dollar.

One of the sector’s biggest success stories was the Middle Tennessee based Dollar General chain of small retail outlets.  Middle Tennessee State University Economist Murat Arik says the Goodletsville company even outperformed retail power-house Walmart.

“Two-thousand-eight to 2009, Walmart’s net income growth was about three percent. Whereas you have over 944 percent growth in Dollar General. As we move forward actually - 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 – you see on average a growth rate over 50 percent and that’s a dramatic growth.”

Dr. Arik says that, now that the economy seems to be on the road to recovery, low-end retailers like Dollar General, will need to find a way to hold on to the customers they picked up in the downturn.