In The New York Times: Dollar Stores Hit a Pandemic Downturn

Date: 1 Oct 2021 | posted in: agriculture | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In the News: Stacy Mitchell

October 1, 2021

Media Outlet: The New York Times

Today’s New York Times features a front-page story on the worsening plight of dollar stores, and on the often negative impacts the major dollar store chains have on workers and local economies (“‘Everything Going the Wrong Way’: Dollar Stores Hit a Pandemic Downturn”). The article notes that the business model of dollar stores “has benefited from the prevalence of poverty and disinvestment in the inner cities and rural America” and notes that dollar stores “pay among the lowest wages in the retail industry.” Heavily reliant on smooth-running supply chains and a labor pool willing to work for substandard wages, the dollar store chains are finding neither in the current realities of the pandemic economy.

“This is another case of the pandemic laying bare the underlying vulnerabilities in how we’ve set up our economy,” said Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, an advocacy group that is critical of many large corporate retailers.

ILSR has been researching the impacts associated with dollar stores for several years, exploring the ways they contribute to the problem of food deserts and erode the economic prospects of vulnerable communities.

As we noted in our 2018 report: “Although dollar stores sometimes fill a need in places that lack basic retail services, there’s growing evidence that these stores are not merely a byproduct of economic distress. They’re a cause of it.”

A growing number of cities are now responding to the influx of these stores by enacting policies that limit new dollar store development. For more information on these local restrictions on dollar stores, go here.

A full list of ILSR’s reports and other research on dollar stores is available here.

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