Dollar General Corp., the rapidly growing discount chain with over 16,300 stores dotting the rural American landscape, wants to attract more high-income shoppers looking to splurge.

The company plans to open a new brand of stores called Popshelf that mostly sells things shoppers don’t need but might want, such as party supplies, home decor or beauty products. Stores will be in the suburbs of larger cities, with two planned for the Nashville, Tenn., area in the next few weeks and 30 by the end of next year. Items will be priced low, mostly under $5, but designed to appeal to women from households that earn as much as $125,000 a year.


A record number of stores closed in the first half of the year and 18 retailers filed for chapter 11 protection, putting this year on a pace for new highs for bankruptcies and liquidations. While many pandemic lockdowns and temporary closures have been lifted, bricks-and-mortar chains are bracing for much of the spending that moved online to stay there.

Dollar General expects even cash-strapped shoppers to like the idea of “treating themselves without the guilt associated with overspending,” said Emily Taylor, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. Executives started working on the new chain about two years ago, but the company isn’t changing course because of the pandemic, Ms. Taylor said.

Many of the categories Popshelf will sell have experienced an uptick in sales during the pandemic, such as home decor, and shoppers are likely to be hunting for bargains in a weakened economy, she said. “The need for this store is very relevant now