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99 Cents Only Stores to Cease Operations Nationwide, Announces Closure of All Locations

For many, 99 Cents Only Stores served as a lifeline, offering unbeatable deals and essential items at budget-friendly prices.
Cover Image Source: A 99 Cents Only Store | Getty Images | Photo by Roger Hornback
Cover Image Source: A 99 Cents Only Store | Getty Images | Photo by Roger Hornback

Shoppers across the country are grieving the loss of the bargains they once enjoyed behind the vibrant pink façades of 99 Cents Only Stores. With stores across California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada, this discount chain is bidding farewell as it prepares to shutter all 371 locations. After over forty years of operations, the chain is facing financial strains. Factors such as inflation and shrinkage, including inventory losses due to theft, errors, and damage, have contributed to this unfortunate outcome.

People shop at a 99 cent store October 23, 2008 in Brooklyn, New York. Image Source: Getty Images|Photo by Spencer Platt
Image Source: People shop at a 99-cent store | Getty Images | Photo by Spencer Platt

"This was an extremely difficult decision and is not the outcome we expected or hoped to achieve," said Interim CEO Mike Simoncic.

"Unfortunately, the last several years have presented significant and lasting challenges in the retail environment, including the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting consumer demand, rising levels of shrink, persistent inflationary pressures, and other macroeconomic headwinds, all of which have greatly hindered the company’s ability to operate," he added.

In a move towards closure, the Los Angeles-based company has announced plans to liquidate all remaining merchandise, commencing immediately under an agreement with financial services firm Hilco Global. This announcement follows recent reports suggesting the company was considering bankruptcy and subsequent liquidation, a grim precursor to this final decision.

The 99 Cents Only Stores' closure aligns with broader struggles faced by dollar-store chains nationwide. Many attribute their downfall to inflation and theft, with Dollar Tree announcing the closure of nearly 1,000 Family Dollar locations and some Dollar Tree stores in response to a fourth-quarter loss.

However, Dollar General stands as an exception, with plans to expand its store count this year despite challenges, opting to remove self-checkouts in select stores affected by theft.

Dollar Tree store | Scott Olson
Image Source: A Dollar Tree store | Photo by Scott Olson | Getty Images

Once cherished for its commitment to offering items under a dollar, the chain has faced criticism in recent years for altering its pricing policies to offset rising operational expenses. Despite its trademarked name, price increases have been a common lament among loyal customers.

Since news of the closure broke, tributes and farewells have flooded social media platforms, with customers expressing gratitude for the store's role in providing affordable goods during times of need. For many, 99 Cents Only Stores served as a lifeline, offering unbeatable deals and essential items at budget-friendly prices.

"I'm so bummed," one user said on X. "They had really good deals if you knew what to look for. I started shopping there during my college years and never stopped." "First dollar tree now 99 cent store which has been a lifesaver for me in certain times," another person wrote.

"99 Cents Only Stores, together with its financial and legal advisors, engaged in an extensive analysis of all available and credible alternatives to identify a solution that would allow the business to continue," the company explained. "Following months of actively pursuing these alternatives, the company ultimately determined that an orderly wind-down was necessary and the best way to maximize the value of 99 Cents Only Stores’ assets."

"We deeply appreciate the dedicated employees, customers, partners, and communities who have collectively supported 99 Cents Only Stores for decades," said CEO Simoncic.