Thursday, May 22, 2008

Weak Dollars and Weak Dollar Stores

For quite some time we have heard about the fact that the dollar is losing its value. Well this reality hit close to home when I recently made a stop at a 99 Cents Only store. I wanted to visit because I have been curious to see if these popular stores have been affected. You have heard about the "shrinking dollar", but a shrinking dollar store? That is exactly what has happened to the massive dollar store chain.

99 Cents Only stores have been around for more than two decades and have enjoyed nothing but growth. In the Houston area, I have noticed a couple of the chain stores have closed and the one I went to this week actually shrunk. It is about 2/3rds the size it use to be. They literally moved the shelves and put up black plastic above the last aisle to cut it off from the rest of the building. Being curious and knowing I would write about the subject, I asked what happened and why. They pointed out the obvious, but wasn't sure why the company made the decision. Was it because of a lack of items available that they can sell for that low price? A need to pay lower rent (although I have no idea how they will lease the rest of the building)? Or was it a need to shrink the store so they could lay off people? I may never know, but I have to assume it has to do with the weak dollar.

It doesn't stop there, we have a local chain called King Dollar, which is home of "Nothing Over $1." Well, that was the case until a month ago when the latter portion of the sign became "Nothing Over $1.09." There are no rumors of it becoming the $1.09 King. It simply doesn't sound right.

These are among the most tangible signs of the weakened economy that I have seen yet and they are very real (in spite of the light approach I take here). Of all the issues the government needs to address, strengthening the dollar should be one of its biggest priorities.

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Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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Anonymous George Philm said...

I've noticed similar things at my local dollar store. Interesting post.

2:58 PM  

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