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Here's how LA plans to help workers at 99 Cents Only Stores amid impending closure

The city of Los Angeles will provide resources over the coming weeks to workers impacted by the closure of 99 Cents Only Stores, Mayor Karen Bass announced Friday.

“I am directing city departments to help make resources and support available to workers who will be impacted by these closures in the coming weeks,” Bass said in a statement. “We must do all we can to support Angelenos during this difficult time.”

With more than 30 of the stores within city limits, the city’s Economic and Workforce Development Department has already activated its Rapid Response Team to help impacted workers, according to the mayor’s office.

At the mayor’s direction, the city will take the following actions:

  • Offering daily virtual presentations led by the Rapid Response Teams to show workers available resources such as unemployment insurance. The presentations will be made in English and in Spanish.
  • The city’s 14 WorkSource Centers are available to answer questions about being laid off and future employment opportunities. More information can be viewed online.
  • The mayor’s Office of Community Engagement and the Rapid Response Team will share resources with employees at closing stores; and
  • The city will also coordinate with the county to ensure workers receive information and resources to assist them through the job transition.

Last week, the Commerce-based operators of stores announced they would shutter all 371 locations, affecting stores in California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas.

“This was an extremely difficult decision and is not the outcome we expected or hoped to achieve,” interim company CEO Mike Simoncic said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the last several years have presented significant and lasting challenges in the retail environment, including the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting consumer demand, rising levels of shrink, persistent inflationary pressures and other macroeconomic headwinds, all of which have greatly hindered the company’s ability to operate.”

“We deeply appreciate the dedicated employees, customers, partners, and communities who have collectively supported 99 Cents Only Stores for decades.”

According to the company, it partnered with Hilco Real Estate to facilitate liquidation of all merchandise, along with “certain fixtures, furnishings and equipment at the company’s stores.”

The 99 Cents Only stores were founded in 1982.

A former president of Big Lots and the original Pic ‘N’ Save brand recently told Los Angeles Magazine he is exploring an effort to save the 143 99 Cent Store outlets in Southern California.

Mark J. Miller said he has put together a group of investors, including some former 99 Cents Store executives, to try to acquire the Southern California stores, close them for about 90 days after the going-out-of-business sales end and then reopen with an emphasis on the “treasure hunt” style that made the stores popular in the first place.

In response to the pending closures, Los Angeles City Councilman Tim McOsker had said he would call for a targeted response in his 15th District in an effort to support impacted workers.

“We will do our best to mitigate the negative impacts of these layoffs and to support the workers, their families and our communities,” McOsker said.

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn also took steps to help workers countywide.

On Tuesday, the Board of County Supervisors approved Hahn’s motion, which requested a report within 60 days from the county departments of Economic Opportunity and Consumer and Business Affairs on ways they can assist displaced workers.


Source: NBC Los Angeles

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