Though a tiny fraction of the Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based retailer’s 9,800-store empire, the Dollar General Market concept is set to expand in 2012.

Dollar General Corp. in November opened five Dollar General Market stores in Las Vegas, the first expansion of the concept since early 2007.

Dollar General Corp. said in its third-quarter earnings meeting Dec. 5 it plans to open 625 new stores, including about 40 new Dollar General Market stores.

The addition brings the total number of Dollar General Markets to about 100. There are currently 62 Dollar General Markets in nine states.  

A Dollar General Market carries about 60 stock-keeping units of the core fresh produce items. Expansion of the concept reportedly is targeting so-called “food deserts,” but retail analyst David Livingston said he’s not convinced this concept will gain a significant portion of market share.

“Food desert is a loose term that means there is no chain grocery store for two or three miles,” he said. “However, there are often independent stores open that already sell fresh produce.