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99 Cents stores to close down all 371 locations

A 99 Cents Only store is seen in Los Angeles, on Friday. A day ago, the City of Commerce discount chain with some 14,000 employees announced that it will close all 371 of its stores in California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas.
Robyn Beck
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AFP via Getty Images
A 99 Cents Only store is seen in Los Angeles, on Friday. A day ago, the City of Commerce discount chain with some 14,000 employees announced that it will close all 371 of its stores in California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas.

Shoppers across large swaths of the country are mourning the bargains they'll soon never bag again behind the bright-pink-branded storefronts.

99 Cents Only Stores — a discount chain with stores in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada — is winding down its business operations at all 371 locations, the company said Thursday.

After more than four decades in business, the chain has succumbed to financial pressures affecting many retail spaces coming out of the pandemic, including inflation and shrinkage — a term for inventory losses due to factors such as shoplifting, employee error and product damage.

"This was an extremely difficult decision and is not the outcome we expected or hoped to achieve," said interim CEO Mike Simoncic in a company news release.

The Los Angeles-based company plans to liquidate all of its merchandise starting Friday, per an agreement with financial services company Hilco Global.

The announcement comes days after Bloomberg reported the company was weighing a bankruptcy filing, as well as liquidation.

Dollar-store chains overall are struggling, many of them blaming their downfall on factors like inflation and theft. Last month, Dollar Tree said it planned to shut down about 12% of its Family Dollar locations over the next three years, and 30 of its Dollar Tree stores. Dollar General appears to be the outlier; the chain plans to open hundreds of stores this year, and said it would yank self-checkouts from stores most affected by shoplifting.

Previously, the chain had been beloved for its promise that most items cost under a dollar. But in recent years, fans have bemoaned its pricing policy changes that, despite the trademarked name, had driven up prices "to keep pace with rising operating costs."

Since the news broke, the eulogies have poured in on social media, with many thanking the store for providing inexpensive goods in their time of need.

"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.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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