Largest U.S. Retailer Makes Potential Billion-Dollar Bet to Solve America’s Biggest Problem

The retailer with the most stores has a bold new idea that could disrupt major players.

When you think of America’s largest retailers, who comes to mind? It’s not Walmart,  (WMT) – Get Free Report, Target  (TGT) – Get Free Report, or Bass Pro Shop (but that pyramid in Memphis is huge). 

By store count, the largest retailer in the U.S. is Dollar General  (DG) – Get Free Report, with 18,000 stores in 47 states. And that’s not a firm number, the company plans to open an additional to 1,050 stores in 2023. 

Dollar General has big plans to continue expanding its footprint, but the discount retailer is proving it can multitask, announcing its imminent foray into the pharmacological space. 

Dollar General Bets Big on Health & Wellness

In July 2022, Dollar General announced it was forming a healthcare advisory board comprised of doctors and subject matter experts, ostensibly to explore an expansion into the clinical space. 

The year prior, Dollar General went public with its plans to enter the healthcare space, though it kept its detailed goals and priorities closer to the chest. 

“With 75% of the U.S. population living within approximately five miles of one of Dollar General’s 17,000+ stores, the Company recognizes the unique access it provides to rural communities often underserved by other retailers as well as the existing healthcare ecosystem,” the company said in a statement. “The Company’s commitment to expanding its health offerings is underpinned by its existing infrastructure, robust supply chain and current complementary health and nutrition assortment.”

But stating your intention to expand offerings in things like health and nutrition is one thing. Executing on the plan is entirely different. 

Dollar General Intends to Open Clinics, Other Health Offerings

Since Dollar General has such a big footprint, it makes sense it’d want to capitalize on its proximity to Americans and take on the industry giants like CVS  (CVS) – Get Free Report and Walgreens  (WBA) – Get Free Report. It’s starting small initially; the retailer announced it would partner with DocGo, a mobile health clinic, in Tennessee in January. 

“We’re excited to pilot new mobile health clinics with services provided by DocGo On-Demand to provide services including annual physicals, acute illness, urgent care needs, vaccinations and lab testing,” Dollar General’s chief medical officer Dr. Albert Wu said in a statement emailed to The Street. “These clinics demonstrate our ability and desire to work with our customers to bring affordable health and wellness closer to home while equally establishing Dollar General as a trusted partner where customers can access health services.”

The services will be provided in large vans in parking lots and other accessible areas. They will offer appointments and walk-ins and plan to expand the services if all goes well. 

The partnership is a part of a larger expansion into the healthcare space, which Dollar General calls DG Wellbeing. The initiative, which is currently in 3,200 stores, offers about 30% more square footage of wellness space and 400 additional items. It intends to bring more affordable health and wellness supplies to economically underserved areas that may not otherwise have access to such offerings. 

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