Many years ago, 99 Cents Only Stores charged 99₵ for most of the items sold in our stores. As our long-time, loyal customers know, we have changed this pricing policy over the past two decades to provide our customers with a wider assortment of product offerings and extreme value products and also to keep pace with rising operating costs. Despite these changes, we have maintained our trademarked name to prevent customer confusion and to make sure our customers know who we are and that we are continuing to provide the same quality and value as always.
One change came in 2008 when the Company added a charge of .99 cents (99/100 of one cent) to merchandise with a base unit price of 99 cents. In almost all instances, this price rounded up to one dollar at the register and since that time, that is the amount a customer will be charged for merchandise at this price point. The overall impact of this pricing change was to increase prices for this merchandise by one penny.
Another change came years ago when, to provide our customers with an even more convenient shopping experience, we began offering some items at prices over $1.00. Since then, to meet customer demands and to provide additional extreme value offerings, the number of items priced at over $1.00 has increased.
Most recently, effective July 11, 2022, we have made one additional change so that the additional charge of .99 cents (99/100 of one cent) applies to all items, including those priced at over one dollar. So, for example, items that may have formerly been priced at $2.49 will now be priced at $2.4999 (i.e., $2.49 and 99/100 of cent). These items will displayed with point of selection price signage stating $2.4999 or something very similar.
This additional charge of .99 cents will apply to these items the same way it has for years now for items at the 99.99 cents price as set forth below.
Specifically, for all items at any price point, the Company discloses the prices of these items (including the 99/100 of one cent) in numerous ways (for example, on the product itself, on shelf tags, at the point of sale, or on other signage). And, importantly, the price we charge for all items we sell appears in total form on the register display before the purchase is made. This is the price that a customer will be charged for the purchase. If a customer does not believe this price is correct, or does not wish to pay it, the customer can choose not to complete the transaction. We are committed to making sure no transaction is completed unless and until the price is acceptable to our customers. When the final price is tallied and displayed on the register, customers have the opportunity then not to complete the transaction. Once the purchase is made, a customer has agreed to the purchase price. It is important that customers with any concerns or questions about pricing not proceed before the transaction is completed and payment is made.
Put simply, the total price that appears on the register is the total price we are charging, after rounding and with applicable tax added, for the items a customer has selected. If a customer completes the transaction and pays this price, he or she is agreeing to this price for the items selected and presented for purchase.
The following explains how our 99/100 of a cent pricing at all price points works.
1. How Our Pricing Using the Additional $.0099 or 99/100 of a Cent, and the Associated Rounding, Works.
a. General Overview and Examples.
If the base price of an item is 99.99 cents, then the purchase price, after rounding, will be $1.00 if no other purchases are made at the same time. Purchases of a single item will round up to the nearest penny. Along the same lines, an item priced at 39.99 or 3999 or 39.99 cents will round to 40 cents; an item at 79.99 or 7999 or 79.99 cents will round to 80 cents, and item priced at $2.4999 or $2.4999 or $2.49.99 will round to $2.50 and so forth.
This sample transaction shows the point:
Single Item Purchase. List price: 99.99 or 9999 or 99.99 cents: Actual Purchase Price: $1.00
Sometimes, this base price is applied to multiple items. For example, two candy bars might be priced at the single price of 99.99 cents for the two bars. In this case, the purchase price for these two candy bars would be $1.00 after the rounding, assuming no other purchases at that time as follows:
Single Purchase of Items Grouped for Sale at Base Price (for example, 2 candy bars for 99.99 cents). List price: 99.99 or 99.99 cents for two candy bars: Actual Purchase Price: $1.00 for the two candy bars
Because purchases that result in a subtotal (before tax) less than .5 cent round down and those that result in .5 cent or more round up, at a certain quantity, the fractional pricing will result in downward rounding for the one item resulting in this tipping point. But, such rounding down is very rare and limited to these situations.
b. Rounding for Items Sold by Weight.
We sell some items by weight, such as, for example, produce that is sold at a certain price per pound. These prices will also include the additional $.0099 or 99/100 of a cent in the per pound or other per unit price.
Because the actual weight of these items varies, the prices charged for these items will usually contain fractions and require associated rounding. In these situations, the price will initially be calculated to the fourth decimal place and then rounded to two decimal places per standard rounding principles. That item price will be displayed on the video screen visible to the customer as the per item price, prior to the calculation of the final subtotal. Sometimes, the purchase of multiple weighted items will cause the final subtotal to be slightly more or slightly less than the sum of the individual (rounded) prices displayed on the video screen. This is because our system retains the prices calculated to the fourth decimal place for purposes of subtotal calculation, and it uses those figures in the subtotal calculation. For these products, like other items, the final subtotal to be charged (as well as the total including sales tax) will be displayed on the video screen before the purchase is made.
c. Final Purchase Price and Application of Sales Tax.
The rounding procedures described above are used to determine the final subtotal price, which is the price prior to the application of any applicable sales or other taxes. Using the procedures above, the subtotal is calculated and stated to the second decimal point on the video screen, i.e., $9.40 or $55.99. The sales tax is applied to this subtotal.
Because many sales taxes rates are expressed to the fourth decimal point, the application of the pertinent tax rate to the subtotal may once again need to be rounded to the second decimal point, i.e., the nearest cent (not any fractions of a cent). Once this rounding is complete, the final sales price (including tax) is calculated and expressed on the video screen prior to the completion of the transaction.
2. What Items in the Stores Are Priced at 99.99 Cents and What Items Cost More or Less.
Many items in the store are priced at 99.99 cents. However, we also offer items (or groups of items) at prices lower than 99.99 cents. Generally, these items will have individual price tags, shelf labels or other displays stating their price. These items will contain the additional 99/100 cent charge.
We also offer many items at prices above 99.99 cents.
These items will also contain the additional 99/100 cent charge. So, for example, an item listed for sale at $2.4999 or $2.4999 or $2.49.99 will round to $2.50. And, an item listed for $3.9999 or $3.9999 or $3.99.99 will round to $4.00.
At the cash register, just like with other items at or below the 99.99 cent price point, the price charged for each item selected will appear on the display screen before the purchase is made. That is the price a customer is being charged. If a customer does not wish to purchase an item after seeing the price displayed on the screen, the customer can simply inform the cashier that he or she does not wish to purchase the item, and it will be removed from the purchase.
As noted above, starting July 11, 2022, we added the 99/100 of a cent or $.0099 to all items at the store priced over $1, and so now all items include this additional charge as set forth above.
For further information on these most recent changes, please see the Pricing Policy FAQs.