How Discount Retailer's Mission Statements Differ

Each retailing company considered to be a "discount" retailer has its own unique mission statement at the core of its business.

But the fundamental mission of all retail companies is the same. Buy low, sell higher, and hopefully retain a good portion of the profits collected in between. In the earliest days of American retailing history that buy-low-sell-higher mission was interpreted as buying at prices as rock-bottom low as you can negotiate/beg, and selling as high as the consumer market would bear.

It's difficult to imagine that there was ever a time when the concept of discount retailing didn't really exist and hard to imagine a time when discount retailing was considered an innovative retailing concept. Today in the U.S. retail industry there is basically only discount retailers and luxury retailers, and not much in between.

In a crowded discount retailing niche, retailers need to have a vision that is larger than just the sales of low-priced merchandise and a vision that is more compelling than just helping customers save money in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors who do basically the same thing.

What follows is a comparison of the mission statements of the largest discount retail chains in the U.S. retail industry.


The mission statement of Claire’s discount accessory stores is also about fashion and fun for kids, tweens, and teens.

Costco Wholesale Warehouse

What you sell is much less important than how you sell it, according to Costco Wholesale's mission statement.

Dollar General

Part of Dollar General's mission statement includes six Beliefs, none of which have anything to do with money or discount pricing.

Dress Barn

The mission of Dress Barn is the core principles established by the founder, which focuses on employees on relationships, service standards, and excellence.


The needs, desires, and emotions of the customer is the focus of the DSW (Designer Show Warehouse) mission statement.


Although no longer in business, it's valuable to analyze the Duckwall-ALCO mission statement because it provides insight into the kind of company mission statement that will not sustain success in today's fast-moving retail climate.

Family Dollar

Family Dollar's mission shows that the company leaders realize that discount prices are not the only way for to "compel" shoppers to visit your stores.

Fred's Discount Stores

The mission of Fred's employees is not getting the sale, but rather getting the smile.


The vision of IKEA stores seems like a global vision too large to accomplish, but the more practical elements of its mission statement keep the IKEA brand real and relevant.


Even after the chain was purchased by retailing giant Sears, Kmart maintained its own unique vision and mission for serving customers at its discount stores.

Kohl's Discount Department Stores

The competitive niche in a crowded field of discount retailing is clearly defined in the Kohl's mission statement which focuses on the Kohl' shopping environment and the customer experience it wants to create.

Stein Mart

The struggles that Stein Mart has in holding onto its designer discount customer base might stem from a mission statement that is no different than any other off-price retailer would have,


Anyone who knows Target stores knows that the focus of the company isn't just about what it can sell in the communities it serves, but also on how it can serve in the communities in which it sells.


The Walmart mission has always been focused on money, which may be why so many other discount retailing competitors have been able to lure so many discount-loving customers away from the world's largest retail chain.

Internet Discount Retailers

These are the mission statements of Internet-based shopping websites which are not strictly categorized as "discount" retailers, but which provide significant competition for brick-and-mortar discount retailers because of their low-priced deals that can be found on their virtual retail shelves.

Perhaps one of the reasons why customers are so willing to do price comparisons with Amazon is because the Amazon mission has never been focused on discount deals as much as it has been focused on customer relationships.


The eBay corporate mission is focused on its vision for global, social, and entrepreneurial trading, three things that allowed the eBay marketplace to evolve into an e-commerce platform for the best discount deals in the world.