99 Cents Only Store Starts Liquidating, Closing All 371 Locations

By: Georgia | Published: Apr 09, 2024

The 99 Cents Only Stores have announced they are closing all 371 of their stores. 

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

Overcoming a Host of Unexpected Challenges

Simoncic explained in a statement that a variety of issues has led to the closure.

A woman with red hair tied in a bun, wearing a blue face mask and a black jacket, is reaching out to select items from a store shelf

Source: Imants Kaziļuns/Unsplash

He said, “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.”

Liquidation Sales Mark the Beginning of the End

With the impending closure affecting stores in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas, the upcoming liquidation sales on Friday were the start of winding down operations.

Urban street view showing the front of a 99 Cents Only store with blue and white signage, a billboard for 'Yellowjackets' on Showtime above

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Bloomberg previously reported that the company was consider filing for bankruptcy, however, the company revealed that after working with legal and financial advisors, they concluded that closing down “was necessary and the best way to maximize the value of 99 Cents Only Stores’ assets”

Feedback from Shoppers as Stores Wind Down

With the closure imminent, Santa Ana shoppers are seizing the chance to grab last-minute bargains. 

A slightly crumpled one-dollar bill lying flat on a solid pink surface, with the portrait of George Washington centered and the green Federal Reserve seal visible to the right

Source: Ryan Quintal/Unsplash

Julie Ann Mckenzie noted, “Inflation has been high…So that’s why I shop here. And it is close to home.” 

Efforts from Local Government to Aid Displaced Workers

CBS News reports that Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is taking steps to help workers affected by the store closures.

Close-up of a smiling woman with short blond hair wearing a turquoise top and earrings, with a gray background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 “I am worried about the thousands of 99 Cents Only Store workers across L.A. County who are going to lose their jobs, but L.A. County is ready to help. We have a department that can step in during an event like this and help workers with not only short-term assistance to get through this difficult time, but job training and support to help them get a better job,” she announced.

Aiming for Value Maximization through Strategic Liquidation

A collaboration with Hilco Real Estate is set to manage the liquidation of merchandise and fixtures, following in-depth discussions on sustaining business operations.

Front view of a 99 Cents Only store with large numerals '99¢' and text 'Only Stores' on the beige exterior under a curved brown roof

Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to the Los Angeles Times, roughly 14,000 were employed in stores.


Decades of Serving the Discount Retail Market

Since its founding in 1982, 99 Cents Only Stores has been a staple in the discount retail space. 

A corner perspective of a 99 Cents Only store featuring white brick walls, large storefront windows displaying products, and bold '99¢ only stores' signage in blue and pink colors against a clear blue sky

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The decision to liquidate demonstrates the broader challenges within the retail industry. This announcement comes less than a month after one of the leading dollar stores in the world, Dollar Tree, revealed that they would be closing nearly 1000 Family Dollar stores.


Widespread Struggles in the Dollar Store Sector

Facing a sector-wide crisis, the closure reflects ongoing struggles among dollar stores with inflation and theft, NPR notes.

A blue Dollar General semi-truck parked on a street, with the trailer displaying the large 'DOLLAR GENERAL' logo

Source: Wikimedia Commons

However, Dollar General’s contrasting expansion plans showcase the diverse outcomes for businesses in the discount retail sector.


Differing Strategies for Dollar Stores

The Wall Street Journal reports that the difference in success between dollar store chains could be attributed to their locations.

A view of a Dollar General store from behind a grassy field, with the store's beige exterior and distinctive yellow and black 'DOLLAR GENERAL' sign visible, cars parked in front, and trees in the background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

They suggest that one of the reasons that Dollar General continues to thrive is down to their strategy of focusing on rural areas, which have much less competition. 


Navigating Financial Strains with Pricing Strategy Adjustments

In recent years, the company adjusted its famous pricing policy to manage rising operating costs, a departure from its original pricing strategy.

Interior of a 99 Cents Only store displaying bouquets of red, white, and blue flowers in the foreground. Behind the bouquets, shelves stocked with various products, and a store employee at a checkout counter can be seen

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This change was an attempt to try and navigate the financial challenges and unpredictable nature of the retail sector.


Social Media Reactions

Following the announcement of the store closures, people took to social media to share their disappointment at the news. 

Nighttime view of a 99 Cents Only store exterior with bright interior lighting. The store showcases colorful window displays and large '99' signage illuminated in blue on the storefront. Customers are visible entering and exiting the store

Source: Wikimedia Commons

One user wrote, “First dollar tree now 99 cent store which has been a lifesaver for me in certain times crazy.” Another person commented, “This is so sad, as a single mom with 2 of my 4 kids with autism where I buy them all food and snacks.”


The Store's Role in Affordable Shopping

For many individuals, 99 Cents Only Stores has been a crucial place for affordable shopping, especially during financial hardships.

Daytime view of a 99 Cents Only store front with large '99¢ Only Stores' signage above the entrance. Several cars are parked in front, and customers are seen walking towards and away from the store's entrance

Source: Wikimedia Commons

As one social media user wrote, “I’ve been going the 99 cent store my whole life and it’s been a store that has helped keep our family from going hungry. I’m able to find everything here and this is devastating.”