Dollar Tree vs. Dollar General: 8 Real Differences Between These Stores

MANAGE MONEY - SHOPPING
Decoding the dollars and cents of your favorite discount destinations.
Updated Feb. 21, 2024
Fact checked
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With so many dollar and discount stores competing for the bargain shopper’s attention, it can be difficult to sort out the differences among all these retailers.

Two of the most popular discount retailers, Dollar Tree and Dollar General, each have unique approaches to their businesses. 

Here are some key things that separate the two retailers. So grab your best cash back credit cards and prepare for the ultimate dollar retailer showdown! 

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Prices

lado2016/Adobe man shopping in supermarket reading product information

Making purchases at a dollar store can be a great way to save money while shopping. While Dollar Tree and Dollar General have “dollar” in their name, prices offer one big difference between the two retailers.

Dollar Tree has always had one flat price for most items in the store. For decades, this price was $1. But in 2021, the retailer announced it was raising the price to $1.25.

On the other hand, Dollar General sells items at prices both below $1 and well above it.

Locations

jetcityimage/Adobe parking outside dollar general store

Dollar Tree and the retailer Family Dollar joined forces and became one company in 2015. Today, there are more than 16,000 of these stores in the U.S. and Canada.

In comparison, there are more than 19,000 Dollar General stores in the U.S.

Size

wolterke/Adobe Dollar tree retail exterior and trademark logo

The average store size is another difference between the two retailers. Dollar Tree stores tend to be bigger and range in size between 8,000 to 12,000 square feet.

By comparison, Dollar General stores average 7,400 square feet in total, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Two-thirds of these stores operate as freestanding buildings, with the rest located in strip shopping centers.

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Brand selection

rocketclips/Adobe customer carrying grocery basket looking for item

Dollar General and Dollar Tree each offer a number of name-brand items, but their selection varies. Dollar General typically has more name-brand and generic groceries than Dollar Tree.

Coupons

Postmodern Studio/Adobe dollar general mobile app logo

Dollar Tree accepts manufacturer’s coupons, but they’re not a significant aspect of the retailer’s image. Dollar Tree focuses more on in-store specials and weekly ads showing low-priced items.

Dollar General has a whole webpage dedicated to coupons and cash-back deals. This includes coupons for specific brands and items.

What they sell

Yaroslav Astakhov/Adobe process of kneading pizza dough at home using a dough mixer

Dollar Tree prices most items at $1.25. That means products at Dollar Tree are often cheaper than at Dollar General. But just because something is cheaper doesn’t mean it’s always the better deal.

Take a look at each store’s kitchen products, for example. Dollar Tree sells smaller, cheaper items like measuring cups, spoons, and cutting boards. If you need something simple, Dollar Tree might do.

Dollar General, however, has a whole section of kitchen appliances, including hand mixers, coffee pots, blenders, and more. Prices on these items can jump to $20. But if you need more than a simple measuring cup, you might want to check out Dollar General.

History

Refrina/Adobe dollar tree store

Dollar General officially opened in 1955 in Kentucky, although the founders started wholesaling a few years earlier in 1939.

Dollar Tree didn’t show up in its present form until 1994. The original store that evolved into Dollar Tree was K&K Toys in Norfolk, Virginia, founded in 1970.

Revenue

Goffkein/Adobe rich man under money rain

As of the end of July, Dollar Tree reported a 12-month revenue of $29.31 billion. Their revenue increased 7.64% from 2022 to 2023, as well.

On the other hand, Dollar General had a 12-month revenue of $38.81 billion. Revenue increased 10.59% from 2022 to 2023.

Bottom line

Drobot Dean/Adobe cheerful young woman

Knowing the differences between Dollar General and Dollar Tree is interesting — and in some cases, it might help you choose the right store to keep more money in your wallet.

So, look over this list again carefully so you can decide which store is better for you. While one retailer might be a better fit, you'll get a good deal, whichever store you choose.

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Author Details

Lucy Clark Lucy Clark has considerable experience writing about real estate, as well as homes and gardens, home value, and more. She is savvy and resourceful, and she aims to ensure others can be, as well.

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