Consumers Slam Governor Newsom After Popular Franchise Shuts Down

( California shoppers are bracing up for a wave of empty storefronts as the iconic 99 Cents Only Stores announced the closure of all 371 stores across four states. The discount chain, a longtime haven for budget-minded shoppers, is set to shutter its doors, with California bearing the brunt with approximately 265 closures.

This news comes as a significant blow to many loyal patrons of 99 Cents Only, particularly low-income families who heavily relied on the stores’ deep discounts for everyday goods, ranging from household essentials to school supplies.

Amidst the closures, frustration and finger-pointing are on the rise among shoppers. Rick Juarez, a patron for over two decades, squarely placed blame on the state’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom for the policies he implemented, which, he argued, led to the closures. He voiced his concerns to the Los Angeles Times, attributing the downturn to high taxes and minimum wage increases that, according to him, hurt businesses and disproportionately affect low-income communities reliant on such stores.

Altagracia Nuñez, another shopper, emphasized the convenience and affordability that 99 Cents Only Stores provided. She lamented the impending closure, noting the uncertainty it brings about where to shop next.

For many, the likely alternatives seem to be higher-priced supermarkets and large retail chains. However, this transition is anticipated to impose a significant burden on individuals with fixed incomes or facing financial hardship. Victor Barrios, a delivery driver, expressed deep concern about the impact on those dependent on government assistance programs. He questioned whether people receiving benefits like WIC or Social Security could afford to shop at stores like Ralphs or Target.

In response to the situation, the company attributed the closures to several factors, including the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting consumer behavior, increased incidents of product theft, and rising inflation. Mike Simoncic, Interim CEO of 99 Cents Only Stores, described the decision as a difficult one, citing significant challenges in the retail sector that have hindered the company’s operations.

Although the company explored various alternatives to avoid closure, it ultimately determined that an “orderly wind-down” was the best course of action. While no official timeline has been provided, some stores, like the Main Street location in Los Angeles, are expected to cease operations in June.

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