It sounds like a late-night talk show joke ("How bad is the economy? So bad that...") but it's not:
99 Cents Only Stores announced price increases Monday -- by almost a penny an item. The chain's new top price: 99.99 cents, or essentially $1 at the cash register most of the time.
The price increases take effect later this month, and the City of Commerce chain has no plans to change its name or logo at its 277 stores....
"We've absorbed it for as long as we can and as hard as we can, but we've reached a point where we can't absorb it anymore, and we have to do something," said Chief Executive Eric Schiffer. "This will give us plenty of breathing room."
Based on last year's sales, Schiffer estimated that the chain would take in an extra $12 million at the cash register.
Will the 99 Cent Only store's New Orleans competitor, Dollar Tree, follow suit? A much more difficult proposition...because their items are already a dollar. Though when I passed by my neighborhood Dollar Tree today, I saw that they already had Christmas items on the sidewalk next to the Halloween stuff.
Shop often. Shop early. Shop cheap.