A $7.6 billion buyout offer for Family Dollar Stores Inc. is just the latest sign that this once-maligned corner of the retail world continues to gain respectability.

Dollar store sales have outperformed many other retail segments in recent years and the major players in the space continue to expand at a brisk pace. Moreover, some dollar store chains are expanding grocery offerings and experimenting with grocery-only concepts, which will make them even greater competitors with traditional supermarkets.

Last week, Matthews, N.C.-based Family Dollar, which operates more than 6,800 locations, confirmed that it received an acquisition proposal from the Trian Group, a New York City-based hedge fund.

The bid values Family Dollar’s shares at between $55 and $60 apiece for a combined total of approximately $7.6 billion. Before news of the offer emerged, the company’s shares were trading in the mid-$40s range. The stock opened trading Wednesday morning at just more than $51 per share.

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