business news in context, analysis with attitude

CNN has a story about how value-driven retailers - Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Walmart are cited - are taking advantage of inflation to attract higher net worth customers to their stores.

For example, CNN reports, "Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos this week said the retail giant has been attracting customers earning $100,000 a year in recent weeks. Inflation has pushed up prices for groceries and gas, and now these shoppers are turning to Dollar General and others to try to save money."

In normal times, the story says, Dollar General's core customer makes less than  $40,000 a year.

"The highest trade-in that we've seen and the most robust has actually been between the $75,000 and $100,000 group," Vasos said.

In recent years, CNN reports, Dollar General "has added more discretionary products to its shelves, such as home goods and beauty products, to attract wealthier customers.

"The trends at Dollar General show that inflation has impacted consumers' shopping habits across multiple income levels, and it's not the only company benefiting from the shift … Rivals Dollar Tree and Walmart have also noted that they're seeing more higher-income consumers in their stores.

"Dollar Tree CEO Mike Witynski last month said that the bulk of the chain's new customers in the past year have an annual household income over $80,000.

"And Walmart CFO John David Rainey told CNBC last month that about three-quarters of the company's second quarter market share gains in food came from customers with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more."

KC's View:

There's been no question that chains like these are well-positioned to take advantage of shoppers' heightened price sensitivity.

The question is whether, when things go back to normal - whatever the hell "normal" means anymore - these retailers will be able to hold onto any of these high net worth customers.