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GOODLETTSVILLE, TN-Dollar General Inc. is proceeding with a previously announced $750-million initial public offering, though observers say the deal may have a downside to it because of billions of dollars in debt and lease obligations. A report by CNNMoney.com points out that some of the IPO proceeds will be used to pay down the $4.1 billion currently hanging over the company.

Dollar General, which offers bargain merchandise to customers in smaller towns, has more than 8,500 stores in 35 states and posted sales of $10.5 billion last year. It was previously publicly traded from 1968 until two years ago, when private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts bought the company for $7 billion.

Because of frugality among shoppers during the ongoing recession, Dollar General is considered a strong performer in the retail sector with 9% growth in stores open for more than a year. Stores are typically 9,000 square feet and are located in high-traffic areas within cities with at least 4,500 population and median household income of less than $75,000.

Although Dollar General’s IPO is in the preliminary stages, Standard & Poor’s announced last Friday that it has placed the retailer on CreditWatch with positive implications. Meanwhile, Wall Street analysts are wary of the company’s current debt, especially considering that most of its locations are leased. “If Dollar General has a lot of lease obligations in addition to its debt, that could be concerning,” Matt Arnold of Edward Jones told CNNMoney.com.

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