99 Cent Only Stores (NYSE:NDN) is an extreme value retailer with 275 stores in 4 US states selling brand-name items from groceries to housewares, all of which cost only $0.99. In FY 2010, the company generated $1.3 billion in net sales and $60 million in net income.
Unlike other stores in the retail industry, discount retailers like 99 Cents Only typically do not suffer during economic slowdowns because lower-class and price-conscious middle-class consumers gravitate towards discount stores in order to save money. As a result of the recession, in 2010 the company's net sales and net income increased 4.1% and six-times respectively. The company competes for price-conscious shoppers in an intensely competitive and saturated market, which is dominated by big-box retailers like Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) and Target (TGT) as well as comparable companies like Family Dollar Stores (FDO) and Dollar Tree Stores (DLTR).
99 Cent Only is the nation's oldest chain of single-priced general retailers, founded in 1982. Like other single-priced general retailers in the market, all items in store locations cost only $0.99, regardless of the product type or item being purchased. Retailers which operate under this $0.99 price point are often commonly referred to as "dollar stores".
The company operates 275 stores in 4 states in the US, with 206 in California, 32 in Texas, 25 in Arizona, and 12 in Nevada. In FY 2010, the company closed a net of 4 stores, mainly in Texas. In 2011, the company plans to increase its store count by 5% with most stores being build in California.
Despite an "extreme value" approach to pricing merchandise, 99 Cents Only cultivates a vendor relationship with many familiar companies, including Hershey's, Dole, Heinz, Johnson & Johnson, Arm & Hammer, and Coca-Cola, among others. By buying in bulk quantities and taking advantage of closeout and newly discontinued merchandise, the company offers customers brand-name products for the same stated price of $0.99.
The company categorizes its products in seven different categories:
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99 Cents Only is a discount retailer that competes with other stores that have similar business models. Thus, the company faces direct competition from dollar-store chains, such as Family Dollar Stores (FDO) and Dollar Tree Stores (DLTR) , that sell many of their products at or around $1.
Description of dollar store companies:
As a discount retailer, 99 Cents Only faces significant competition from big-box sellers like Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) and Target (TGT), whose enormous scale allows them to extract value in their inventory purchases and pass these savings on to consumers. In some sense, 99 Cents Only is more nimble and less concentrated than big-box competitors, but does not necessarily enjoy the same economies of scale. The company's growth going forward is highly dependent on finding attractive new urban stores to add to its existing base, while avoiding opening up in areas already dominated by major competitors, a challenging task given the market saturation of the US discount retailing industry.
Description of big-box sellers: