A 99 cents store storefront| USA Today

The impact of the 99 cents store

By Dylan Long & Elizabeth Teo, April 30, 2024

The 99 Cents Only Store chain is closing all 371 stores across California, Nevada, Texas and Arizona, making it the latest casualty in a retail economy that is still recovering from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This will affect the CPP community as many college students come to get basics they need at a lower price,” said Maya Rodriquez, a business student. “Now they are going to other stores to pay more for the same goods.” 

Popularity of the store came from its ability to provide name-brand products for heavily discounted prices, making it a helpful asset for anyone trying to stay on a budget. The 99 Cents Only Store was a community go-to and was especially helpful to college students who were looking to get essential items for a low cost. 

Brad Thomas, an equity research analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets offered his thoughts that the closure of 99 Cents Only Stores is largely due to the fact that larger chains such as market leader Dollar General, is performing better due to having a larger store count and a larger sales base that is multiple times larger than the 99 Cents Only brand. 

“It’s been trying times for many, many retailers,” Thomas said. “What’s interesting is that what started out as a boom to retailers in the pandemic, with all those stimulus checks, quickly turned into a very troublesome time. “

Thomas added the absence of the 99 cents store in our community leaves a void that now will be filled by department store options that are not affordable for college students that are on a budget. 

“It is truly a shame that we are losing an affordable quick shopping option around campus with how much of a budget we are on as college students,” said Jacob Lopez, a finance student. “It now puts us at such a negative crossroads. Either we are forced to spend more money than we can afford to, or we are forced to miss out on essential items that we need to have in college.” 

The closure of these stores not only represents a loss of affordable shopping options for communities but also underscores larger struggles the average person is facing not being able to buy their necessities. Ernesto Hernandez, a 99 Cents Only store manager, shared that the demise of the store is concerning since he sees firsthand how often customers rely on it for necessities. 

“One of my associates noticed more customers in the store than usual and I was not there for a few days, and no one told her, when I got back and told her we were closing down she broke down in front of me,” said Hernandez. 

According to Kayla de la Hay, in an article for Los Angeles 4, a research scientist at University of Southern California’s Center for Economic and Social Research explained that 30% of people in LA County don’t have reliable access to food. 

“Those food deserts are located in a lot of low-end communities and if they start to close, there’s a real gap in food access for many of these neighborhoods,” De la Hay said. “We really need to think about how we’re going to help these communities that have been under-invested in getting better access to affordable, healthy food.” 

Feature Image courtesy of 99 cents store 

Verified by MonsterInsights