Is It Still Worth Shopping at Dollar Tree?


Previous calendar year CR identified serious bargains, but the chain has due to the fact raised charges 25 per cent. This is how it now compares with other stores.

The name remains, but does Dollar Tree’s $1.25 cost however deliver the most effective deals?

By Brian Vines

Dollar-shop procuring has often been a tightrope act for me, demanding weighing my motivation for a bargain in opposition to my constrained persistence for suppliers with spotty inventory and traces that snake down the aisles. Then anything occurred to make the balancing act even more demanding.

In late November 2021 Dollar Tree, a person of the premier nationwide dollar-keep makes and a spot I store regularly, announced that right after 35 yrs of giving all merchandise for just $1, it was elevating the price throughout the board to $1.25. It’s a sign of our inflationary periods. This March, the Buyer Selling price Index, a measure of the typical cost of goods and services, rose by 8.5 % about previous year, the major spike in 40 many years.

And still, the 25 percent increase in price ranges at Greenback Tree is just about 3 periods the amount of inflation. So I wondered: What does this say about the top quality of the bargains at Dollar Tree these times, and are dollar retailers in standard however destinations to get a offer?

I had a very good baseline point of comparison. Very last yr, in “The Truth of the matter About People Dollar Merchants,” Shopper Stories investigated the Huge A few of “worth” retail: Greenback Tree and the countrywide chains Greenback Common and Spouse and children Greenback. Including myself, eight CR staffers and key shoppers from throughout the region bought 14 day-to-day items—pasta sauce, toothpaste, breakfast cereal, flooring cleaner, and more—at the 3 dollar merchants to assess selling prices versus those people at their regional supermarkets.

In our report, Greenback Tree returned the cheapest complete price ranges for the entire haul 50 p.c of the time, and Dollar Typical experienced the finest prices the other 50 %. To find out whether or not the two continue to reign supreme inflation notwithstanding, I did a a single-gentleman place look at, browsing for the very same current market basket of merchandise at the pretty similar Dollar Tree, Greenback Typical, and supermarket I experienced frequented in Brooklyn very last year.

Here’s what I identified this time, together with a selling price comparison of the 6 goods that I was in a position to discover in all 3 of the stores.

My Observations

Inventory in dollar stores has always been unpredictable—with, say, pancake syrup in stock one particular 7 days but not the next—and savvy buyers know to get what they want whilst the getting is fantastic. But at least in the scenario of Greenback Tree, the costs were generally regularly one dollar—until now.

Dollar Tree

With the information of the value hike, the business explained Greenback Tree would “materially develop its choices, introduce new products and solutions and measurements, and deliver people with extra of their daily necessities.”

But I was tough-pressed to see much “material expansion” all through my recent pay a visit to. Shrinkage is extra like it. Previous August, a 15-pack of 7×6-inch sheets of Lysol Disinfecting Wipes marketed for $1. These had been long gone this time, changed by “To-Go Vacation Dimensions Packs” of Lysol wipes, 15 in all but measuring a measly 3×4 inches for $1.25. CR’s ask for for comment from Greenback Tree reps about the downsized wipes went unanswered.

The Lysol Lemon Breeze multi-surface area cleaner and Hunt’s Garlic & Herb pasta sauce ended up nonetheless the exact dimension, as ended up the Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix and Palmolive Ultra dishwashing liquid. Crest baking soda and peroxide toothpaste was essentially larger—up to 2.4 ounces from previous year’s 2.3 ounces. Previous 12 months the Greenback Tree industry basket was $7.55 ahead of tax (based mostly on device selling prices and hypothetical standardized package measurements). My most latest receipt came to $9.09—a 20 per cent improve, pretty near to the 25 % throughout-the-board hike the chain instituted.

Dollar Typical

It would seem that even though Greenback Tree has sworn off greenback pricing, Greenback Common has embraced it. This March, Dollar Normal executives informed traders that 20 per cent of its merchandise is priced at $1 or significantly less and that they are dedicated to preserving charges low. The retail store now statements to have “over 2,000 identify brand name products for $1 or less” and even has an aisle devoted to dollar promotions.

In August 2021, six of the merchandise on my purchasing record have been a greenback or a lot less. This time, eight have been, like Palmolive dishwashing detergent, Kraft barbecue sauce, and Crest toothpaste. In 2021, the full Dollar Normal industry basket was $7.65 prior to tax. My most modern receipt came to $8.17—up 7 %.


At the Pathmark grocery store that I final shopped in 2021, rates for Hunt’s pasta sauce, Palmolive dishwashing detergent, and a single-serve cup of Kellogg’s Fruit Loops remained specifically the very same. The selling price of Barilla slim spaghetti, Crest baking soda whitening toothpaste, 35-rely Lysol disinfecting wipes, and Kraft barbecue sauce each and every rose by 10 to 20 cents.

The most substantial raise more than previous year’s receipts was in the wellbeing and private treatment aisle, exactly where the value of a 24-count box of 200 milligram Advil tablets rose by additional than 50 per cent, from 4.99 very last August to $7.59. Previous year the total Pathmark grocery store industry basket was $11.24 prior to tax my most latest receipt came to $12.37—up 10 percent.

Base Line

The important problems with accomplishing a 12 months-about-year shop-vs.-store comparison in benefit retail is the unpredictable availability of objects and the various dimensions they arrive in throughout merchants. So even though I had hoped to be capable to re-store my full record of 14 goods from a year ago, this time I was capable to obtain only 6 merchandise in common at all 3 shops.

Past summer season, Dollar Tree and Greenback Basic have been neck-and-neck in the race for dollar-retail outlet dominance. But now, at the very least primarily based on my small purchasing experiment, Dollar Typical arrives out on major.

Calculating the device value of typical measurements of the 6 items—Hunt’s pasta sauce, Betty Crocker brownie blend, Kraft barbecue sauce, Lysol multi-area cleaner, Palmolive dishwashing liquid, and Lysol disinfecting wipes—that were consistent at the three shops, I located that Dollar Tree’s rates rose by 20 p.c, Greenback General’s by 7 per cent, and the supermarket’s by 10 %.

So if the question is, “Are dollar stores worthy of it?” in my e-book, the answer is yes—depending on the keep.

Legitimate, I shopped at only 1 outpost of two greenback-shop chains and one particular level-of-comparison grocery store, and can not assert that my constrained spot look at captures countrywide developments. True, the greenback-retail store aisles had been as cluttered as ever, the traces as extensive, and the stock as strike-or-miss out on. For fresh new foods and objects in large-box-retail store sizes, you’ll nevertheless have to store in other places. And even though you may not reliably be ready to obtain every little thing you have to have to feed your family or clean your household at a greenback shop, when you do come across what you have to have, the personal savings can be genuine.

Now, that matters. As inflation carries on its skyward trajectory and I observe my utility costs grow much more cringeworthy with every passing billing cycle, I for a person am willing to set in a very little work to help you save a small income. In simple fact, since inflation is building so numerous of us poorer by the moment, looking out promotions can really feel like the monetarily responsible technique. The 5 bricks of Major Ramen I scored for a dollar last 7 days? I like to imagine of it as both of those dinner on the table and funds in the lender.

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Buyer Studies is an impartial, nonprofit corporation that operates aspect by facet with consumers to develop a fairer, safer, and more healthy world. CR does not endorse items or companies, and does not accept advertising and marketing. Copyright © 2022, Shopper Experiences, Inc.


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