Retail

99 Cents Only Stores to Close All Locations

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99 Cents Only Stores will close its 371 locations. Management blamed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation. The company, famous for its super low prices, has locations in California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada and will liquidate all remaining inventory. Hilco Real Estate will dispose of all the 99 Cents Only Stores real estate.

99 Cents Only Stores was founded in 1982 when founder Dave Gold, who owned a liquor store, decided to test selling wine for $0.99. He also sold TVs to his earliest customers for $0.99 each. Eventually, locations sold groceries and close-out items. Among its better-known promotions, it offered limo services in 1999 to one of its California locations. (See which
items you should always purchase at a dollar store.)

Gold experimented with other price points. However, he told the Los Angeles Times in 2003, “Whenever I’d put wine or cheese on sale for $1.02 or 98 cents, it never sold out. When I put a 99 cent sign on anything, it was gone in no time. I realized it was a magic number. I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to have a store where everything was good quality and everything was 99 cents?”

The pandemic did hurt the retail industry badly. Traffic to 99 Cents Only Stores did not rebound as it did for other store chains. It also appears to have yet to have a major online presence.

Inflation might have hurt the company. Holding prices at extremely low levels as the “cost of goods sold” rose must have eaten away at or killed margins. And, as Gold said, people were not ready to pay for items that cost several dollars.

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