99 Cents Only stores raise prices

FAIRFAX DISTRICT, Calif. The store announced the price hike on Monday.

"In response to dramatically rising costs and inflation, [99 Cents Only Stores] are forced to announce its first ever price increase ... Raising its top price from 99 cents to 99.99 cents, which is an increase of almost a whole penny," said 99 Cents Only Stores CEO Eric Schiffer.

It may not seem like a lot, but store officials say the price increase will generate an extra $12 million each year. This will help cover rising fuel and supplier costs.

The news is a big relief for some customers.

"Basically I found out a couple of days ago from a neighbor that the 99 Cents stores will be raising their prices. And I was like, 'Man, I better get down there and stock up.' Because, who knows, it could be a $1.99 store now. But, pleasantly, I'm surprised that they've only raised it .99, so, everything is still under a dollar ... Hallelujah," said Forrest Thurman, customer.

However, some may worry this is a sign that prices could go up even more. The store says if inflation continues to increase, so could their prices.

For one 99 Cents Only Store regular, J.R. Starr, close to an extra penny is too much to pay.

"By them increasing that, because I'm on a fixed income, that's going to put me in a new tax bracket. You know what I'm saying? Because I don't' have that extra - that .9 - to be paying," said Starr.

Officials say customers shouldn't worry. They say the price increase is just one of many strategies the stores will be using to keep costs down. They will be reducing trips to their manufacturers. They also say they will be making popular products more visible in the store, hoping that the extra penny will be the highest their prices will go.

"Inflation is going up. One penny is not going to hurt too much. So, it's still okay. It's still going to be in my budget," said Mabel McDuffie, customer.

Store officials say every item at the store, even if it is priced below 99 cents, will have a .99 added to the cost.

Officials plan on implementing the new price change at all 277 stores nationwide by the end of September.


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