99 Cents Only Stores raising prices?

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. What's in a name? Well, in the case of this store, it's a bargain, only 99 cents, but get 'em while you can, because this Southland retailer is looking at changing its pricing structure.

At the 99 Cents Only store, nothing is over 99 cents -- ever. At least that's the way it's been since the first store opened in Los Angeles 26 years ago. But since then, the cost of doing business has gone up, and that means the price of some products at the 99 Cents Only Store might go up as well.

"The 99-cent price point, particularly today with inflation that we've seen and increases in transportation costs and everything, it's more challenging to offer a full selection of products for 99 cents," said 99 Cents Only Stores President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gold.

Loyal customers know a trip to this store isn't going to break the bank. In fact they're likely to save money on simple household items, even food. But Jeff Gold says the retailer lost $1.5 million last quarter, so now it's looking at a new pricing structure that would see 99-cent items sell for more.

"One of the things that we've considered doing is having select commodity products that we sell above 99 cents, for example selling gallons of milk for $2.99," said Gold.

The store says no matter how they change with the times, they will still provide a great value, whether a product is 99 cents or not. They also say a new pricing scheme would keep them competitive with your neighborhood grocer by allowing them to bring in new items they currently can't afford to sell at just under a buck.

Shoppers gave their two cents.

"I don't know if I'll shop here if it's going to be that much more," said one shopper.

"Everything has gone up, they have to change it," said another shopper.

"As long as it's a deal, 'cause that's why I'm here in the first place," said a third shopper.

So what about the store's name, the 99 Cents Only Stores -- will the company drop the "only" if they add on to their pricing? Jeff Gold said that is also under consideration.


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