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99 Cents Only stores sued over price hike

July 22, 2010 | 10:48 am

99_Cents_Store A fraction of a penny is amounting to one big headache for 99 Cents Only Stores.

Two years ago, the City of Commerce retailer — faced with rising inflation and higher costs — raised the top price of its goods to 99.99 cents from 99 cents. Company executives thought it was a clever way to increase sales while staying loyal to the chain's love for the number 99.

But the move seems to be riling some customers who say they weren't aware of the nearly one-cent increase and felt duped into believing they were still paying 99 cents "only." Because U.S. currency makes it impossible to pay 99.99 cents for an item, shoppers are essentially paying $1 plus tax at the cash register.
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Photo: Shoppers look through produce at a 99 Cents Only store. Two class-action lawsuits against the company allege unfair and deceptive business practices and misleading advertising. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times