Discount retailer Dollar General Corporation is gearing up to relaunch some of its private label apparel lines as part of its plans to drive sales growth by focusing on new, more affluent shoppers in 2010.

Speaking on a conference call yesterday (31 March), chairman and chief executive Richard Dreiling told investors that relaunches would include the Bobbie Brooks brand for women and Open Trails for men and boys.

"The apparel lines have improved quality across fit and fabric, and are exclusive to Dollar General at price points that are attractive to our customers," he said.

"The fastest growing segment we have are customers making more than $70,000 a year," Dreiling noted, citing recent research, adding: "We believe the transition we are making is going from cheap to inexpensive.

"And when we make that move, people are still buying jeans. They might not be buying as many, but they are buying them somewhere."

The new Bobbie Brooks jeans, for instance, will sell for $12.

"It is evident that consumers have made significant behavioural changes during the current recession, and most have reset their spending norm.

"People are shifting channels, they are trading down, they are changing their habits."

The retailer is focusing on growth after posting a 200% hike in full-year profit to $425.1m.

Net sales at the Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based company, which operates more than 8,800 stores, were up 12.8% to $11.8bn.

And it is forecasting a further 8-10% hike in revenues for fiscal 2010.

Dollar General also plans to accelerate store growth, with a new format and improved layout expected in 1500 stores by the end of fiscal year 2010.

And it says the move towards direct sourcing of its merchandise, including an overhaul of its Hong Kong office and expansion into India, is helping to lift gross margins.