Bids on Family Dollar indicate expectations of a growing low income population. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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Family Dollar Stores, which operates about 8,200 stores in mainly urban sections of the U.S., is the target of a $9 billion cash takeover offer from rival Dollar General and an $8.5 billion cash and stock offer from Dollar Tree.The popularity of so-called dollar stores is growing. Shopping by the 46.5 million Americans living below the poverty line helped boost the annual U.S. market for deep discount stores by 45.7 percent to $48.2 billion between 2008 and 2013, according to London-based market researcher Euromonitor International. Roger Davidson, a former grocery executive at Wal-Mart, Whole Foods Market Inc. and Supervalu, said dollar stores face increasing competition from other discounters, including Wal-Mart itself, which is opening smaller neighborhood stores.Deep discount dollar stores have been around for decades, but have grown by about 10,000 to about 24,500 stores in the last decade.Joseph Garrett, 58, a welfare-fraud investigator for New York City, was among the shoppers at a Dollar Tree Deals location in Manhattan's Harlem neighborhood recently. He said he does most of his grocery shopping elsewhere but uses the dollar store when he's looking for a bargain.
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