99 Cents Only closing all 371 locations after 4 decades

 A shopper leaves one of the 99 Cents Only Stores April 7, 2004 in Bakersfield, CA.  (Photo by Roger Hornback/Getty Images)

99 Cents Only Stores has made the decision to shutter all 371 of its stores and commence the winding down of its business operations, bringing an end to a legacy spanning over four decades, as announced by the company on Thursday.

"This was an extremely difficult decision and is not the outcome we expected or hoped to achieve," interim Chief Executive Mike Simoncic said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the last several years have presented significant and lasting challenges in the retail environment."

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Simoncic cited a multitude of factors contributing to the decision, notably highlighting the "unprecedented impact" of the COVID-19 pandemic, evolving consumer preferences, ongoing inflationary pressures, and the substantial loss of inventory due to theft as key drivers behind the closure of the company's establishments.

With locations spanning across California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas, 99 Cents Only Stores boasts a workforce of approximately 14,000 employees. The privately-held company revealed that it has struck a deal with Hilco Global to oversee the liquidation of all merchandise and the disposal of fixtures, furnishings, and equipment across its stores. Sales are slated to commence on Friday.

This announcement aligns with a prevailing trend of discount chains facing challenges amid the current economic climate.

RELATED: Dollar Tree to offer $7 items, shifting away from single-pricing model

Dollar Tree has recently disclosed its decision to increase the price cap for specific items from $5 to $7, alongside plans to shutter 600 Family Dollar stores in the first half of the year as part of its portfolio optimization strategy. 

Additionally, the company announced in its fourth-quarter earnings report that an extra 370 stores will close upon the expiration of their leases.