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Dollar General scooping up former Wal-Mart stores

An employee retrieves shopping carts at a Wal-Mart Express store in Richfield, North Carolina.
Jason E. Miczek | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An employee retrieves shopping carts at a Wal-Mart Express store in Richfield, North Carolina.

Wal-Mart's pain is Dollar General's gain.

After Wal-Mart's decision to bail on its answer to the competitive dollar store space earlier this year, Dollar General announced this week that it has purchased 41 of the former Walmart Express locations. The company plans to relocate 40 of its existing stores into these sites by October and will enter one new market, in Coal Hill, Arkansas, with the final location.

"Dollar General is excited to add these locations to our existing store base. We look forward to the opportunity to better serve our customers in these communities by continuing to provide the convenience and value they expect from Dollar General," Todd Vasos, Dollar General's chief executive officer, said in a press release.

The relocations will allow Dollar General to add square footage in its existing markets, so that it can expand its selection in fresh meat and produce. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Before they were shuttered, Wal-Mart's 102 Express stores averaged roughly 15,000 square feet. At the company's shareholder meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, last month, CEO Doug McMillon said the retailer decided to discontinue the pilot — which it started in 2011 — to focus on its larger supercenters.

"We can't do everything," he said.

Meanwhile, the traditional dollar store players have big plans for expansion. Dollar General alone is on track to open 900 stores this year, and another 1,000 in 2017.