NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Discounter Dollar General might well be making its way back to the public eye.

Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, which operates KKR Financial Holdings ( KFN), is preparing the company for an initial public offering, according to the Wall Street Journal.

KKR is expected to serve as a lead underwriter on the deal, along with Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, according to the Journal. It would be the first time KKR underwrote one of its IPOs.

KKR, by teaming up with Fidelity Investments, will sell shares to institutions, as well as the public.

Dollar General has more than 8,400 stores in 35 states, and sells discounted housewares. Like other discounters, the company has benefited from consumers trading down on home goods.

In the quarter ended May 1, Dollar General earned $83 million, miles above the $5.9 million it earned a year earlier. The company's sales also jumped 16% to $2.78 billion from $2.4 billion, while same-store sales increased 13%.

The company was purchased by an investment group that included affiliates of KKR and Goldman Sachs, among others, for $6.9 billion in July 2007.

The company directly competes with Dollar Tree ( DLTR), Family Dollar Stores ( FDO) and Fred's ( FRED), as well as behemoth Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT).

--Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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