California Shoppers In Panic Mode As Hundreds Of Stores Face Imminent Closure

By Greg Moriarty | Tuesday, 16 April 2024 01:00 AM
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The retail landscape in California is set to undergo a significant transformation as the company behind 99 Cents Only Stores prepares to shutter approximately 371 outlets across California, Nevada, Texas, and Arizona.

The closures, which are slated to commence as early as April 5, will predominantly impact California, where 265 stores are set to close. The state has been home to the company since its inception in 1982, and its headquarters remain in Commerce, California.

The announcement of this wave of closures has sparked a reaction among shoppers, with some attributing the situation to the policies of California's governor. "I blame [Gavin] Newsom," Rick Juarez, a 53-year-old shopper, told the Los Angeles Times. "Too many taxes, too high the minimum wage. These companies just can’t compete, and so they have to close. And it’s poor people like us who end up suffering."

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Juarez, a long-time patron of the Main Street location, expressed his disappointment as he stocked up on batteries before the store's imminent closure. The impending shutdowns have prompted several stores to initiate "everything must go" sales, attracting local shoppers eager to capitalize on the discounts before it's too late.

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Altagracia Nuñez, another shopper, lamented the loss of the affordable shopping option. "I could buy toys for my younger kids, my older kids could get pens for school, and I could do groceries for all of us," she told the LA Times in Spanish. "And the prices, of course."

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Victor Barrios, a 38-year-old delivery driver, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the importance of such stores for individuals on limited incomes. "You need a place like this. Are people now supposed to go to Ralphs? Or Target? With what money?" he questioned.

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The Interim Chief Executive Officer of 99 Cents Only Stores, Mike Simoncic, acknowledged the gravity of the decision. "This was an extremely difficult decision and is not the outcome we expected or hoped to achieve," he stated. He attributed the closures to a combination of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting consumer demand, persistent inflationary pressures, and other macroeconomic challenges.

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The company, in a press release, stated that it had conducted an extensive analysis of all available alternatives before deciding on an orderly wind-down as the best way to maximize the value of 99 Cents Only Stores' assets. While no specific timeline has been provided for the closures, the LA Times reported that the Main Street location is expected to close in June.

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