No, Dollar General is not owned, operated, or affiliated with Walmart in any way. While they are major competitors, Dollar General and Walmart have always maintained fully separate ownership and control structures since being founded.
As an experienced ecommerce seller, I‘ve done extensive research into major American retail chains. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll analyze the key facts around Dollar General and Walmart‘s ownership, history, store counts, and more.
Dollar General‘s History of Independence
Dollar General has remained an independent company since its founding over 80 years ago in 1939. The discount retailer was started by James Luther Turner and Cal Turner, with the key goal of providing affordable merchandise across small-town America.
Dollar General grew steadily in its early decades, trading hands between various private owners. But the Turners and their successors kept Dollar General privately owned until the 2000s.
In 2007, Dollar General was acquired by private equity investors through a $7.3 billion leveraged buyout. The buyers were Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), GS Capital Partners (Goldman Sachs), and Citi Private Equity.
This took Dollar General private again, while allowing it to accelerate expansion. Just two years later in 2009, Dollar General had an initial public offering (IPO) to become publicly traded on the NYSE.
Throughout all the ownership changes over 80+ years, Walmart has never acquired or merged with Dollar General. The two companies have always operated fully independently, despite being major retail competitors.
As a value retailer myself, I truly respect Dollar General‘s commitment to remaining a discount brand while still evolving with the times and expanding nationwide.
Who Actually Owns and Controls Dollar General?
While publicly traded, the majority of Dollar General stock is still owned by the private equity firms that acquired it in 2007:
|Buck Holdings, L.P (KKR, Goldman Sachs, Citi Private Equity)||75%|
|The Vanguard Group, Inc||4.1%|
|BlackRock Fund Advisors||3.5%|
|Lone Pine Capital LLC||1.8%|
As you can see, the three private equity firms control a 75% majority stake in Dollar General through their investment vehicle Buck Holdings, L.P. Combined with other institutional investors, insiders own over 85% of Dollar General‘s stock.
The remaining approximately 15% of shares are held by public individual and index fund investors. So while Dollar General is publicly traded, private equity firms retain dominant control.
Dollar General‘s executive team and board members are all internal career employees as well. They are focused on discount retail, not affiliated with Walmart.
Does Dollar General Have Ownership in Other Companies?
No, Dollar General does not have any ownership stakes in other major retail chains or brands.
Dollar General operates over 18,000 stores, but all under the Dollar General banner and branded as Dollar General locations.
However, Dollar General does own an extensive portfolio of private label store brands that offer products exclusively in Dollar General locations:
- Clover Valley (over 2,400 food and household products)
- DG Home (cookware, storage, cleaning)
- DG Baby (infant and baby care)
- DG Body (bath, hair, and skin products)
- DG Pet (pet food and accessories)
Owning these private labels allows Dollar General to control product sourcing, quality, and pricing while delivering value to shoppers. This is a key retailing strategy.
But Dollar General does not make acquisitions or equity investments in external companies. Its focus is on growing its namesake discount retail chain.
PopShelf is Dollar General‘s Newest Retail Concept
In 2020, Dollar General launched a new retail spin-off brand called PopShelf. While owned by Dollar General, PopShelf targets higher-income suburban shoppers versus Dollar General‘s traditional customer base.
PopShelf stores offer Dollar General-owned private brands alongside national brands across home decor, beauty, cleaning, party supplies, and other categories. But with brighter store designs and elevated product selections tailored specifically to suburban women making over $75,000 per year.
As a retail analyst, I see PopShelf as a smart initiative by Dollar General to expand into a new demographic. PopShelf leverages Dollar General’s sourcing, merchandising, and private label expertise but packages it for higher-end shoppers.
This allows Dollar General to drive incremental sales of its brands beyond just traditional discount shoppers. As of January 2022, there are 15 PopShelf locations with plans for continued expansion nationwide.
Walmart‘s Extensive Retail Ownership Portfolio
In contrast to Dollar General’s focus on its singular discount retail chain, Walmart has ownership stakes in numerous retail businesses:
Walmart‘s Owned Brands
- Sam’s Club – 599 warehouse club locations in the US
- Asda – 600+ superstores in the UK
- Seiyu – 300+ supermarkets in Japan
Walmart‘s Acquired Companies
- Flipkart – Leading online retailer in India (77% stake)
- Bonobos – Premium men‘s apparel brand
- ModCloth – Women‘s apparel brand
- Moosejaw – Specialty outdoor recreation retailer
- Hayneedle – Online home furnishings store
However, while Walmart owns many retail concepts, it has no ownership or affiliation with Dollar General in any capacity.
The Walton Family Retains Majority Control of Walmart
Unlike Dollar General‘s split between private equity and public shareholders, Walmart continues to be majority controlled by the heirs of founder Sam Walton.
The Walton family owns over 50% of Walmart‘s stock through two family-owned entities:
- Walton Enterprises LLC – Holds over half the Walmart shares owned by the Waltons.
- Walton Family Holdings Trust – Holds the remaining Walmart shares owned by the Waltons.
Jim, Rob, and Alice Walton (the children of Sam Walton) are co-managers of Walton Enterprises and sit on the Walmart board. But they are not involved in day-to-day operations.
Between the Walton-controlled entities, institutional investors, and public float, Walmart is broadly owned. But the Walton family maintains absolute control with their majority 50%+ stake.
The Bottom Line
As a retail business analyst, I hope this comprehensive ownership breakdown provides clarity that Dollar General and Walmart are completely independent companies without any overlapping ownership or control.
Dollar General has remained privately held or controlled by private equity investors for most of its 80+ year history. Walmart is still majority owned by the Walton family heirs.
While they compete vigorously in the discount retail space, Dollar General and Walmart have always had fully separate ownership structures and management teams since being founded.
In today‘s complex world of mergers and acquisitions, it‘s understandable to speculate whether large retailers like these are linked. But in the case of Dollar General and Walmart, no ownership or affiliation exists despite their similar business models.
I hope this guide serves as a valuable, data-driven resource to explain the ownership realities between these two discount retail giants. Let me know if you have any other retail ownership questions!