The King of Cheap Stuff
By Matthew Boyle

(FORTUNE Magazine) – High prices at the pump have walloped all retailers, but none more than dollar stores, which cater to lower-income shoppers and penny pinchers. Yet Dollar General (DG, $19) is bucking the trend, and definitely worth a look.

With 7,782 stores in 31 states offering household staples as well as some apparel and food, Dollar General is one of the country's fastest-growing retailers; it will open 730 new stores this year. The company's earnings have increased an average of 17% annually over the past decade, a shade better than Wal-Mart and just below Target. Yet it trades at 16 times next year's estimated earnings, less than its peers and the S&P 500.

Dollar General has posted industry-leading same-store sales growth thanks to savvy merchandising, traffic-boosting features like coolers for milk and eggs, and cost-saving concepts like its new EZstore format, where products are literally rolled right off a truck onto the store floor. Such improvements have caught the eye of the fund managers at Fidelity Contrafund and T. Rowe Price's Mid-Cap Growth fund, who both purchased the stock earlier this year. At the current price, you should consider loading up your cart too.