THE MARKETING 100;DOLLAR GENERAL ANGELA MARTIN

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Simple, small neighborhood stores: that's how Angela Martin sees Dollar General Corp.'s business.

The retailer had kept its ad strategy simple by never offering discount promotions, sticking with even-dollar pricing that doesn't fluctuate from week to week-a rare strategy among chain retailers.

"There are no gimmicks," says Ms. Martin, director of employee communication and advertising. "What you see at Dollar General is what you get."

This pricing strategy is particularly suited to attract Dollar General's loyal customer base of low-to-middle income households. To get its message out, the chain sends consumers two direct-mail pieces a year, created in-house, and relies on word-of-mouth.

That marks a change from before 1995, when the company ran radio advertising. However, it realized its message was being confused with other dollar stores.

"Dollar General has proven that you can cut back on your advertising and provide your customer with what they are really looking for-which is the best value," says Ms. Martin, 29.

The sales prove just that, increasing 21.8% to $1.76 billion for the year ending Jan. 31. Same-store sales increased 5.1% for the 2,416 store chain.

Dollar General is not averse to advertising, though. Ms. Martin, with help from her team, is planning a new brand program this year to help eliminate the confusion in the industry.

The new initiative will accompany the company's already successful community-service programs.

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