Dollar General is seeking vendors to step forward in an effort to diversify its supplier network.
The discount retailer said in an announcement Thursday one goal of the supplier diversity initiative is to mitigate or remove unintended barriers for diverse suppliers. By doing this, the company wants to increase representation in its communities.
Applications are open through Aug. 7 and available online. Companies selected to work with Dollar General will be notified by Aug. 21, and virtual meetings between the retailer and potential suppliers are set to run from Sept. 25 through Sept. 29. Dollar General is partnering with Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing and RangeMe to host its annual supplier diversity matching program.
“The integration of inclusive sourcing, processes and capacity building into our supplier strategy helps us expand the impact of diverse suppliers and provide more relevant products and meaningful experiences for each unique customer and community we serve,” CEO Jeff Owen said in a statement on the company’s supplier diversity page.
Qualifying suppliers must be U.S.-owned businesses with at least 51% ownership and operation led by a woman, minority, military veteran, person with a disability or a member of the LGBTQ+ community. To participate in the initiative, eligible suppliers must not have sold products to Dollar General in the last 18 months and they must hold at least one of five specific national diversity certifications, such as from the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
“An intentional investment in supplier diversity reflects Dollar General’s mission of Serving Others and core values that include ‘respecting the dignity and differences of others.’ We look forward to connecting with new vendors to extend our supplier diversity efforts and learn how we can collaboratively better serve our customers,” Emily Taylor, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in the announcement.
Dollar General is one of America’s largest retailers. As of May 5, the company operated 19,294 Dollar General, DG Market, DGX and Popshelf stores across the U.S. and Mi Súper Dollar General stores in Mexico. With that footprint, the retailer says 75% of the U.S. population lives within five miles of a Dollar General store. The company reported Q1 net sales rose nearly 7% year over year to $9.3 billion, but operating profit fell slightly to $740.9 million.
Despite its positive financial position and substantial physical store footprint, the company lowered its full-year guidance during its first-quarter earnings report, citing a challenging macroeconomic environment affecting customer spending levels and behavior. The retailer is also under federal scrutiny by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for its store safety practices and faces millions of dollars in safety-related penalties.
The company in March said it plans to spend $100 million on staffing and stores with the goal of improving customers’ in-store experience.