US discount retailer Dollar General has defied the retail gloom and unveiled plans to open more than twice as many stores in 2009 than in 2008.

The retailer, which has benefited from its value positioning as customers trade down in recessionary conditions, will open 450 stores this year. It will also accelerate the revamp or relocation of 400 shops.

Same-store sales at Dollar General increased by a recession-busting 9.4 per cent in its fourth quarter.

The Tennessee-based retailer, which was taken private for US$7.3bn by a group of investors including KKR in 2007, is the biggest US discount retailer by number of stores, which stands at 8,362.

Dollar General’s success mirrors that of fellow discounters such as Family Dollar and Wal-Mart. Earlier this month, Wal-Mart revealed that January same-store sales grew 2.1 per cent, in contrast with many US retailers that have floundered in the downturn.

Planet Retail global research director Bryan Roberts said that Dollar General was well placed to benefit from the downturn and has been quick to react with changes to its offer.

The retailer has recently completed the roll-out of a chilled grocery offer in stores and improved its offer for customers on benefits. It will now focus on overhauling its home decor and apparel merchandise.

“They were perfectly placed to become more popular in times of economic woe,” said Roberts. He said Dollar General’s small neighbourhood stores in convenient locations had aided its performance.

Sales in the quarter to January 30 rose to US$2.9bn (£2.02bn), an 11.2 per cent rise on the US$2.6bn (£1.81bn) in the same period a year ago. Sales for the 2008 financial year exceeded US$10bn, up 10.1 per cent from US$9.5bn (£6.64bn) the year before. Same-store sales for the year advanced 9 per cent.

Sales of seasonal merchandise and discretionary purchases were impacted by the weak economy and the shorter holiday shopping season.

The retailer opened 207 stores in 2008, relocated or revamped 404 stores and closed 39.