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California shoppers flood 99 Cents Only shops ahead of closure: ‘I blame Newsom’

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California shoppers are already feeling the loss from yet another wave of massive store closures.

The company behind 99 Cents Only Stores announced earlier this month that it would be closing approximately 371 shops across California, Nevada, Texas and Arizona with some beginning as early as Apr. 5.

Most of these shutdowns, about 265 stores, come from the Golden State where the company was originally founded in 1982. Since then, the company’s headquarters has been based in Commerce, California.

With another franchise announcing massive closures in California, some shoppers are pointing fingers at their governor.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

California shoppers blamed rising prices and Newsom’s minimum wage policies for 99 Cent Only stores closing. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

CLOSURE OF BELOVED CALIFORNIA BOOKSTORE HIGHLIGHTS STRUGGLES OF SMALL BUSINESSES IN EXPENSIVE STATE

“I blame [Gavin] Newsom,” Rick Juarez, 53, told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. “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.”

Juarez told the LA Times that he had been coming to the Main Street location for “at least” 20 years and returned there to stock up on batteries before it was too late.

Ahead of the closures, several stores began holding “everything must go” sales, offering various discounts. Local shoppers quickly flocked to their shops to also stock up on affordable items before it was too late.

“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,” Altagracia Nuñez told the LA Times in Spanish. “And the prices, of course.”

“Well, everything is more expensive nowadays, so I guess this had to end,” she added with a weak laugh.

Los Angeles 99 Cent Only Sotre

Shoppers exit the 99 Cent Only store in Huntington Beach, California on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“This needs to stay open,” 38-year-old delivery driver Victor Barrios lamented. “I make OK money, and buying here helps me. But imagine if you’re on WIC? If you’re on Social Security? You need a place like this. Are people now supposed to go to Ralphs? Or Target? With what money?”

The company’s Interim Chief Executive Officer of 99 Cents Only Stores Mike Simoncic remarked on the announcement saying, “This was an extremely difficult decision and is not the outcome we expected or hoped to achieve.”

He continued, “Unfortunately, the last several years have presented significant and lasting challenges in the retail environment, including the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting consumer demand, rising levels of shrink, persistent inflationary pressures and other macroeconomic headwinds, all of which have greatly hindered the Company’s ability to operate.”

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In a press release, the company added, “99 Cents Only Stores, together with its financial and legal advisors, engaged in an extensive analysis of all available and credible alternatives to identify a solution that would allow the business to continue.”

“Following months of actively pursuing these alternatives, the company ultimately determined that an orderly wind-down was necessary and the best way to maximize the value of 99 Cents Only Stores’ assets.”

99 Cent Only Store sign

The City of Commerce discount chain with some 14,000 employees announced on April 4, 2024, that it will close all 371 of its stores in California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas after more than four decades.  (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

There has been no timeline given for the shutdowns, but the LA Times reported that the Main Street location will close in June.

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