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Spotlight on New Formats


Two big retail names, Dollar General and Abercrombie & Fitch, recently unveiled new store formats that differ dramatically from their traditional concepts. Here’s a look at their new initiatives:

Dollar General

One of the nation’s fastest-growing retailers is putting the focus on convenience, targeting a new demographic with a smaller-store concept called DGX.

Dollar General debuted the new format, which has 3,400 sq. ft. of selling space, in Nashville, Tenn. A second location is set to open in Raleigh, N.C.

DGX is designed to serve busy, urban millennial shoppers in an easy-to-shop, easy-in, easy-out format. The merchandise mix is geared toward instant consumption and includes a beverage bar, coffee station and grab-and-go sandwich section.

In addition, the store offers a limited assortment of grocery offerings, pet supplies, candies and snacks, paper products, home cleaning supplies and a health and beauty section. It also features a small assortment of home décor, electronics and seasonal offerings — items typically not found in a quick-trip store.

Compared to a traditional Dollar General, DGX has a modern and hipper look, with bold graphics and upgraded fixtures. The store offers a checkout lane geared toward a high-volume, smaller basket size.

“The DGX format is geared to meet the needs of the millennial shopper, which is an emerging and important part of our customer base and will help us broaden our appeal to attract a new segment of urban customers who put a high premium on value and convenience,” said Todd Vasos, CEO of Dollar General — based in Goodlettsville, Tenn. — which operates some 13,200 stores nationwide.

Although the retailer has not revealed any plans for DGX beyond the first two locations, the company is in a growth mode, recently entering its 44th state, North Dakota. The chain plans to open a total of 1,000 stores this year.


For the first time in more than 15 years, Abercrombie & Fitch has launched a new format for its namesake banner. Located at Polaris Fashion Mall in Columbus, Ohio, the 4,860-sq.-ft. store is designed to reflect the teen apparel retailer’s new inclusive positioning.

“It’s important that our stores reflect what the Abercrombie & Fitch brand is today, so we’ve created a new space for our customers, that is warm, inviting, inclusive and open,” said Stacia Andersen, brand president of Abercrombie & Fitch and Abercrombie Kids.

Designed by MJ Sagan Architecture, the new Abercrombie is brighter and more welcoming, and the changes start on the exterior. The retailer’s signature dark, monolithic storefront has been replaced with a more open façade, complete with a large round window featuring a metal sculpture of an A&F logo first used in the early 1900s.

The interior has a relaxed atmosphere and an intimate, boutique feel. The loud dance music has been toned down considerably and so has the store’s once overpowering scent, replaced with a lighter fragrance. There is an upfront fragrance “apothecary,” an area for seasonal collections and a dedicated denim room.

The wallpaper features a graphic print of the logo — the large oversized photos of the past are gone. Indeed, the store’s most dramatic element is a concrete runway, running just past the entry through the middle of the space, with mannequins outfitted in key looks of the moment. The central cash wrap has been replaced with multiple checkouts that are located throughout the space.

The fitting rooms are composed of two individual rooms within a larger private suite. The design lets customers share new looks with friends while still having some privacy. Each suite features separate controls for light and music, and a dock for charging phones.

The Columbus prototype is the first of seven units that will open this year. Abercrombie hasn’t disclosed information on additional locations.

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