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99 Cents Only Stores Are Liquidating

Sales start Friday at 371 stores. Here’s what to stock up on

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99 Cents Only Stores, the discount retailer with 371 locations in Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas, is closing all its stores, citing persistent inflation, shifting consumer demand and rising levels of theft.

“This was an extremely difficult decision and is not the outcome we expected or hoped to achieve,” Mike Simoncic, interim chief executive officer of 99 Cents Only Stores, said in a news release. “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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Founded in 1982, 99 Cents Only Stores offers a broad assortment of name-brand and other merchandise. Other discount retailers have announced store closings. Dollar Tree said last month it will shutter 600 of its Family Dollar stores in 2024 and an additional 370 over the coming years. The closures could be a blow to older adults who are dealing with persistent food inflation. As of the February Consumer Price Index, food prices were up 2.2 percent year-over-year. Since the pandemic, grocery prices have seen double-digit increases.

It’s not clear how long the 99 Cents stores will remain open, but for bargain-hunting older shoppers, they present an opportunity to stock up on items as the liquidation sales kick off. 

How to capitalize

“Stocking up on nonperishable items like canned goods, dry goods, cleaning supplies and household essentials can save you a lot of money. These items typically have a longer shelf life and will last,” says Howard Dvorkin, CPA and chairman of According to Utah State University, unopened canned foods have a shelf life of one year and should be used within two years. Shelf-stable foods that don’t require refrigeration are safe “indefinitely,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, while cleaning supplies should last at least a year. 

Other goods to stock up on include paper products, party supplies and seasonal items such as holiday decorations. These products can be stored indefinitely and are typically deeply discounted during liquidation sales, Dvorkin says. 

Inspect the items before you fill your shopping cart, he says. After all, liquidation sales typically involve clearing out inventory, some of which may be damaged or defective. “Check expiration dates and the condition of the products before purchasing,” he says.

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