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99 Cents = 99 Problems?

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Photo by Tony Pierce/LAist from The Neighborhood Project: Little Armenia

Times are tough, which means saving a buck, or a penny, here and there is a high priority for lots of local shoppers. That means that a place like the 99 Cents Onlystore is a haven for penny pinchers and bargain hunters alike. But what happens when the economy can't keep a good thing going?

The LA Times reports:

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Faced with fast-rising inflation and soaring food prices, the retailer -- known for never selling anything for more than 99 cents -- is reevaluating its pricing strategy. And that could mean breaking the $1 barrier for the first time in the company's 26-year history.

Say what? Not everything will be 99 cents or less? Why the heck not?

Well, as it turns out, the way the company works is that they bank on being able to buy goods at a discount because they've essentially lost their full value in the regular retail market, i.e. discontinued products or products that just didn't work out, or just plain cheap items. Then they can turn around and offer them for less than a dollar. Trouble is, a dollar doesn't get as much these days, and goods aren't that cheap for retailers to get a hold of. With a company motto of "Nothing over 99 cents ever!" (emphasized on their website to say "STILL Nothing over 99 cents ever!"--despite the rumors) a price hike is a really big decision that they are seriously entertaining.

Still, getting things for around 99 cents is a pretty good deal, and many customers are expected to remain devoted patrons, despite the company having to finally pass the buck.