1. Channel: Dollar/Value

Dollar General’s Garratt wraps up rewarding career

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — After a professional finance career spanning more than three decades and nearly nine years in key leadership positions at Tennessee-based Dollar General, John Garratt begins his planned retirement on June 2. DG’s president and former chief financial officer is fondly looking back, and ahead, with his ever-present smile and pleasant demeanor that have defined his leadership style. 

Garratt began his career as an engineering major, and his shift into finance came after a sophomore-year economics course sparked his fascination with the intersection of how money and human behavior can influence one another.

“I fell in love with finance in college and have since wanted to work for a consumer-facing company where the work is centered on how to add value for customers,” Garratt shared.

That interest made Dollar General an excellent fit for Garratt, who joined Dollar General in 2014 as senior vice president of finance and strategy, before being promoted to CFO in 2015 and adding president to his title in 2022.

“When I came to Dollar General, I was impressed by the company’s culture and mission as equally as the exceptionally great people,” Garratt recalls. “Then, the company’s fantastic business model truly excited me as a professional because I saw what was possible and what we made a reality.”

The reality of transforming Dollar General’s business while staying consistently focused on customers’ needs is reflected in the inception of the company’s Save to Serve program; strategic initiatives including DG Fresh, Fast Track, Digital and Non-Consumable; DG’s Well Being focus; the creation of the DG Private Fleet; expanded services including Western Union, FedEx, DoorDash and DG Pickup; and real estate innovations including pOpshelf and MiSuper Dollar General, all of which include Garratt’s financial leadership and expertise.

“Many of our initiatives over the years focus on and were evolved to address our customers’ changing and broader needs, and I think we’ve done a good job of looking down the road and around the corner at what we can do to meet those needs better,” he related. “We’ve always been a fill-in trip, but now we’re a fuller fill-in trip, and it’s gratifying to see customers can now do more with our store, whether it’s through an expanded product assortment, closer access to their homes or utilizing the numerous services we have to offer.” 

Another big change at Dollar General during Garratt’s tenure has been the company’s size.

“When I arrived in late 2014, we were operating fewer than 12,000 stores,” he says. “We’re over 19,000 now, and over that same time, our revenue has doubled, and our earnings per share has tripled. Dollar General is a much bigger company than when I joined it, and that is another testament to how we consistently think through how we can better serve the needs of an underserved customer.”

While the business grew and continued to evolve, the focus to give customers convenient access to everyday items they need at prices they can afford never faltered. In fact, it continues to be paramount in its operations. For Garratt, delivering on that promise requires a disciplined and thoughtful approach to expenses and investments.

“As a low-cost operator, we consider every expenditure and ask whether it is adding value for our customer,” he says. “We are diligent in our capital allocation and make sure we’re looking at everything through the lens of what’s going to make the biggest difference and impact.”

With Garratt’s retirement chapter in sight, his service to Dollar General has indefinitely left a positive mark. 

“John’s strategic partnership, guidance and trusted counsel have been instrumental to our success and provided meaningful impacts to our customers and his teams,” said Jeff Owen, Dollar General’s chief executive officer. “On behalf of the entire Dollar General family and our leadership teams, I am deeply appreciative of John’s contributions and friendship and wish him the very best in retirement.”

Looking ahead, Garratt is confident Dollar General’s future and its financial leadership will continue to be bright as the next generation of leaders step up, including his CFO successor, Kelly Dilts, who was promoted to executive vice president and CFO on May 1.

“Our succession planning process is one of Dollar General’s real strengths,” Garratt said. “Most of our executive team is a product of succession planning and internal promotions, myself included, and Kelly is a real testament to its success. I think the world of Kelly, and she has a combination of financial expertise, business acumen and retail experience, having played a key role in leading various parts of the finance organization. She will do a fantastic job and have a huge impact.”

As for Garratt’s role in retirement, he’s looking forward to spending more time with family, particularly with his wife, two children and parents. However, he’s keenly aware of the close proximity Dollar General will be on all his ventures and will remain a loyal customer, all with his signature smile intact.

The post Dollar General’s Garratt wraps up rewarding career appeared first on MMR: Mass Market Retailers.

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