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99 Cents Only Stores is an American price-point retailer chain based in Commerce, California. Previously, the store offered all products at 99¢ or less.[2] Most products are now priced at "99.99¢ or less, but certain products are sold at higher price points. Founded by Dave Gold in 1982, there are stores are located in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. The company also operates Bargain Wholesale, which sells wholesale to retailers across the United States and exports to more than 15 countries from showrooms in Los Angeles. It also exhibits at trade shows in Las Vegas and Chicago.

99 Cents Only Stores LLC
IndustryDiscount, variety store
Los Angeles, California
FounderDave Gold
Commerce, California
Number of locations
394 [1]
Key people
Jack Sinclair, CEO

Jason Kidd, COO

Felicia Thornton, CFO
RevenueIncrease $2.06 billion (2017)
Decrease $53 million (2017)
Decrease $118 million (2017)
Total assetsIncrease $662.87 million (2009)
Total equityDecrease $523.85 million (2009)
OwnerAres Management
CPP Investment Board
Number of employees
17,000 (2017)
99 Cents Only store, Murrieta, California
99 Cents Only Store, Dallas, Texas


99 Cents Only Store, North Hollywood, California

Early HistoryEdit

99 Cents Only Stores dates back to the 1960s when the company’s founder, Dave Gold, inherited a tiny liquor store in downtown Los Angeles and decided to run a test by selling bottles of wine at a fixed price-point of 99 cents. The test was instant success, and Dave thought that selling everything in the store for 99 cents would be hugely popular.

"Whenever I'd put wine or cheese on sale for $1.02 or 98 cents, it never sold out," Gold said in a 2001 interview with The Los Angeles Times. "When I put a 99 cent sign on anything, it was gone in no time. I realized it was a magic number."[3]

On a “lucky” Friday, August 13, 1982, Dave and Sherry Gold opened the first 99 Cents Only Store in Los Angeles. To celebrate the Grand Opening, Dave decided to sell television sets for only 99 cents to the store’s first 13 Families. More than 300 people showed up to stand in line and wait for the store to open. The huge line caught the media’s attention, and more than 10 TV outlets covered the store’s first day. The success of this first grand opening inspired a tradition that continues today, with every new store offering incredible 99-cent deals for televisions and other exciting products.


In November 2003, a more flexible pricing structure was implemented where items are sold for prices lower than 99 cents (for example, 69 or 49 cents). The management believed that this will permit better management of commodity price increases.[4]

In September 2007, the company raised its highest price from 99 cents to 99.99 cents—the first increase in the history of the franchise—to combat "dramatically rising costs and inflation." However, the store now carries select items that are over the .99 price point; such as $1.99 and $2.99.[5]

Despite having announced on September 18, 2008, that the company would close all stores in Texas, in February 2009, the company decided that it will close only one-third of its Texas stores. The company quoted a rise in sales, and plans to keep the stores open, as long as the stores remain profitable.[6][7]


In October 2011, the company agreed to a $1.6-billion buy-out by private equity firm Ares Management and the CPP Investment Board. [8] The deal was completed on January 13, 2012. New ownership decided to lay off 172-plus employees in October 2013. [9] The Gold family ended their involvement with the company in January 2013.

Popular cultureEdit

99 Cents Only Stores advertises that it is open "9 days a week", often invoking humorous commentary on holidays with products sold for 99 cents. One advertisement wished Joan Rivers "Happy 99th Facelift"; another congratulated the Los Angeles "Dodgers on Losing 99 Games."[3] The company also celebrates the 99th birthday of public figures and names 99-year-old individuals as honorary spokespersons.

Photographer Andreas Gursky's diptych of the inside of the Hollywood, California, 99 Cents Only store became--at the time of its sale in February 2007--the most expensive photograph ever sold, being auctioned for $3.3 million.[10]

99 Cents Only Stores trucks and vans state that "Our drivers carry 99 cents only".

99 Cents Only Stores allows returns of up to nine items within nine days of purchase and are typically open from 9am-9pm, although individual stores may open at 8 a.m. or close at 10 p.m.

The store mottos include: "Do the 99", "Low prices are born here, and raised elsewhere", featuring a picture of a baby chick.[citation needed]

A 99 Cents Only store was featured in scenes in the 2002 movie Punch-Drunk Love.[11]

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas 69 Cent Stores are a parody of 99 Cents Only Stores.


  1. ^ Khouri, Andrew (January 25, 2013). "99 Cents Only Stores' family management team departs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  2. ^ Chang, Andrea (2010-07-22). "99 Cents Only Stores sued over price increase". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  3. ^ a b Li, Shan (April 26, 2013). "Dave Gold dies at 80; entrepreneur behind 99 Cents Only chain". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ "99 Cents Only Stores(R) Announces a $5.2 Million Loss for the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2008 Ended September 30, 2007". Business Wire (Press release). 8 November 2007. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  5. ^ Jinks, Beth & Burke, Heather (8 September 2008). "99 Cents Only Stores Raises Top Price to 99.99 Cents (Update2)". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 2015-06-20.
  6. ^ Welch, Creighton A. (September 18, 2008). "99 Cents Only closing all its Texas stores". San Antonio Express-News. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20.
  7. ^ Halkias, Maria (February 4, 2009). "99 Cents Only Stores to stay open in Texas after all". Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 2009-04-04.
  8. ^ Chang, Andrea & Li, Shan (12 October 2011). "99 Cents Only Stores agrees to .6-billion buyout". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ "99 Cents Only Stores: NYSE:NDN quotes & news - Google Finance". Google Finance. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  10. ^ Schonauer, David (March 7, 2007). "The First $3M Photograph". Archived from the original on March 18, 2007. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  11. ^ Levine, Bettijane (January 4, 2003). "Buy low, live high". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 9, 2018.

External linksEdit