Thursday, September 11, 2008

99 Cents Only Stores raise prices for the first time

99 Cents Only Stores raise prices for the first time

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Prices at 99 Cents Only Stores are edging closer to a buck.

The discount retailer on Monday announced the first price increase in its 26-year history, raising the cost of household items, food and other items by almost a penny.

The company blamed inflation and rising food and energy prices for its new 99.99-cent prices.

The increase means the maximum price in the stores will still fall below a dollar while helping the company offset some of the higher costs of doing business, CEO Eric Schiffer said.

The company has posted two consecutive quarterly losses. The company said last month it lost $1.5 million, or 2 cents a share, during the April-to-June period. During the same period last year, 99 Cents Only Stores earned $3 million, or 4 cents a share.

The company, founded in Los Angeles, is the nation's oldest dollar chain store. It has expanded to 277 locations in California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas.

For the opening of its new stores in Redondo Beach and Las Vegas last month, the company sold iPod Nanos for 99 cents to the first nine customers.

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