Dollar General’s Startling Admission: Half Of U.S. Consumers Are Feeling More “Dire” Than Ever

Thursday, December 1, 2016
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge.com
Dec 1, 2016

When we last looked at the performance of deep discount retailer Dollar General three months ago, we found something troubling: company CEO Todd Vasos, who badly missed its earnings expectations, admitted on the Q2 conference call that he was surprised to admit that while on the surface things are supposed to be getting better, the reality is vastly different for low-income US consumers:

I know that when we look at globally the overall U.S. population, it seems like things are getting better. But when you really start breaking it down and you look at that core consumer that we serve on the lower economic scale that’s out there, that demographic, things have not gotten any better for her, and arguably, they’re worse. And they’re worse, because rents are accelerating, healthcare is accelerating on her at a very, very rapid clip.

Making matters worse, he added that the company’s core consumers base, 65% of which is comprised of lower-income shoppers, has been impacted by the recent reduction or elimination in foodstamps: “now couple that in upwards of 20 states where they have reduced or eliminated the SNAP benefit, and it has really put a toll on [the core consumer].”

He elaborated that the reduction in foodstamps benefits promptly filtered through the entire business model, and culminated with Dollar General being forced to cut prices to remain competitive.

While America’s poorest where pressured on one side by declining foodstamp benefits, on the other they were getting hit by rising rental and healthcare costs:

“[The] core consumer, I tell you, has gotten no better as far as her economic well-being. Matter of fact, she tells us, while we’re out in the stores or even through all of our panel data that we do, that while things haven’t gotten a lot worse as far as income coming in, other than the recent SNAP decrease, my expenditures are going up at a very rapid rate. Healthcare is one of the big ones, because most of our consumers, while she may be working, doesn’t have healthcare, and we all know that she’s having to now pay for this healthcare or be taxed on it, right? So that is starting to really play against that low-end consumer right now, and it will continue to play against her. You couple that with those rents that we talked about, those increased rents are real, and in many parts of where we serve our customer, the affordability and availability of rental units are getting more and more scarce, which is driving up prices. And we’re seeing that because most of our core customers cannot and do not own their own homes.”

The Rest…HERE

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