All good things must come to an end.

The 99-Cent Only Store, a Los Angeles-based chain whose logo for years has been "Nothing over 99-cents. Ever" is doing just that. The chain is raising prices on some items. There will be some things that will now indeed cost more than 99 cents. I guess this means it's official: Inflation is alive and well.

With rising costs, including a higher minimum wage, and a dragging economy, the chain reported that it lost about $1.5 million in the last quarter. To counter these losses, prices will have to rise on some items. Jeff Gold, the chain's president, hasn't said exactly which items he will hike the price on, but I'm going to take a stab and guess it's going to be the stuff that is a little less junky than normal. That and perhaps food prices. Hard to find a decent gallon of milk for under $2.50 these days. Especially in Los Angeles.



Critics are saying the chain will lose certain "purist" customers who will take umbrage that an item is being sold for, say $1.05 instead of 99 cents. I'm not so sure. Is another 10 or so cents tacked onto an item really going to make or break a sale? A few dollars more on your basket of items? You're still getting your stuff cheaper than anywhere else. Look under your couch and make up the difference.

The 99-Cent-Only Store isn't the only dirt-bottom cheap store to reneg on the dirt-bottom pricing pitch. Similar stores in New York are feeling the bottom-line pinch as well, and are raising their prices accordingly.

Bargain shoppers, start your engines. Check out our resident dollar-store expert Marlene Alexander for tips on what (or what not) to buy, and git while the gittin's good. Or at least while the company website says "STILL nothing over 99 cents...ever!"

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