California 99 Cents Only Stores May Be Saved—Investors Hearken Back to a ‘Treasure Hunt’ Form of Shopping

The former president of Big Lots (formerly Pic ‘N’ Save) is putting together a group of investors to save the 99 Cents Only Store locations in California. On Friday, the stores’ operators began liquidation of the merchandise and fixtures at locations, and that will continue. But 90 days after the completion of the closures, the investors hope to do a grand reopening of the 143 California outlets with a return to the original vision of the bargain hunt, found treasure atmosphere.

The team includes former 99 Cents Only Store executives who will build their collective vision of refocusing on the experience of shopping rather than empire-building. Miller seems to understand the original vision for the store and what it means to the affected communities if the 99 Cents Only Stores cease to exist. 

Bravo to Miller and this action by business owners who understand not just what it does to an economy to have such a mass wave of closures but to the community the business serves. The fact that these bargain discount stores are closing instead of expanding is a bad sign. 

In March, the Dollar Tree corporation also announced it was closing 1,000 stores across its brand.

Too often company press releases combine product loss or damage and actual theft under the innocuous term of “shrink.” But along with the rampant inflation, this “shrink” is a major factor in the locations of these stores that end up closing

Bottom line: the more marginal the neighborhood, the greater the shrink. The greater the shrink, the more likely the location will be shuttered.

While the potential reopening of these 99 Cents Only locations is a positive thing, California has a serious retail theft problem and laws that favor criminals rather than small business. They’ll need Miller and his team’s vision to reopen the stores, but they’ll also need to figure out how to improve community safety in order to protect their investment. 

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