Variety store

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"Dollar store" redirects here but may also refer to Dollar store (Cuba).
A 99 cent store

A variety store or price-point retailer is a retail store that sells inexpensive items, usually with a single price point for all items in the store. Typical merchandise includes cleaning supplies, toys, and candy.

The store is usually named for the price of the merchandise sold in the store (but see below); the names vary by area and time, as each country has a different currency, and the nominative price of the goods has increased over time due to inflation. Modern names include:

100-Emon at Kohnoike Higashi Osaka-City

Some variety stores are not true "single price-point" stores despite their name. Often the name of the store, such as "dollar store", is only a suggestion, and can be misleading. Some stores that call themselves "dollar stores" have items that cost more or less than a dollar. Some stores also sell goods priced at multiples of the named price. The problem with the name is also compounded by sales tax, which leads to taxable items costing the customer more than a dollar. Some purists maintain that the phrase "dollar store", in the strict sense, should only refer to stores which sell only items that cost exactly $1.

Some stores can have prices which are not round multiples of currency, such as the "99-cent store" or "$2 store", or "88-yen store". As inflation increases the nominative price of goods, the names of such stores must also change over time.


[edit] Products

Variety store products include cleaning supplies, small tools, personal hygene supplies, kitchen supplies, organizational supplies, small office supplies, holiday decorations, electronics supplies, gardening supplies, home decor novelties, toys, pet supplies, out of print books, DVDs and VHS tapes, food products and automotive supplies.

Some items sold at a dollar store would be a dollar or less anyway, whereas other items are a substantially better deal. There are four reasons a dollar store is able to sell merchandise at such a low price:

  • The product is a generic or "knock-off", often specially manufactured for such stores.
  • The product was manufactured cheaply for a foreign market but was then imported by an unauthorized distributor (grey market goods).
  • The product is purchased from another retail store or distributor as overstock, closeout merchandise, or seasonal merchandise at the end of the season.
  • The items were manufactured to coincide with the promotion of a motion picture, television show or special event (e.g. Olympic games), and are past their prime.

Some stores carry mostly new merchandise, some mostly closeout merchandise bought from other stores below regular wholesale cost.

Depending upon the size, some variety stores may have a frozen food and drink section, and also one with fruits and vegetables. The Deal$ and 99 Cents Only Store chains in the U.S. are two such examples.

[edit] History

The concept of the variety store originated with the five and dime, a store where everything cost either five cents (a nickel) or ten cents (a dime). The originator of the concept may be Woolworths, which began in 1878 in Utica, New York. Other five and tens that existed in the USA included W.T. Grant, J.J. Newberry's, McCrory's, Kresge, McClellan's, and Ben Franklin Stores. These stores originally featured merchandise priced at only five cents or ten cents, although later in the century, the price range of merchandise expanded. Inflation eventually dictated that the stores were no longer able to sell any items for five or ten cents, and were then referred to as "variety stores". Given that $0.05 in 1913 when adjusted for inflation is $1.02 in 2006 dollars, this retailing concept has shown remarkable vitality over the years.

Well-known five and dimes included:

Of these, only Duckwall-ALCO and Ben Franklin continue to exist.

[edit] International

[edit] Europe

In Spain there are Todo a 100 shops ("everything for 100 pesetas" (0.60 €)), although due to the introduction of the euro and inflation, most products cost a multiple of 0.60 or 1 euro. Most of these shops maintain their name in pesetas, and most of them have been renamed as Casi todo a 100 ("almost everything for 100 [pesetas]") or Todo a 100, 300, 500 y más ("everything for 100, 300, 500 or more").

[edit] Asia

In Japan, 100-yen shops (百円ショップ hyaku-en shoppu) or "One coin shops" have been proliferating across Japan since around 2001. This is considered by some an effect of decade long recession of Japanese economy.

For a few years, 100-yen shops existed not as stores in brick-and-mortar building, but as vendors under temporary, foldable tents. They were (and still are) typically found near the entrance areas of supermarkets.

One major player in 100 Yen Shops is Hirotake Yano, the founder of Daiso Industries Co. Ltd., which runs the "The Daiso" (sic) chain. The first store opened in 1991, and there are now around 1,300 stores in Japan. This number is increasing by around 40 stores per month.

In Hong Kong, department stores have opened their own 10-dollar-shop (USD 1.28) to compete in the market, and thus there are now "8-dollar-shop" (USD 1.02) in Hong Kong, in order to compete with a lower price. Note that there is no sales tax in Hong Kong, but the relative price is higher than in Japan or the US.

[edit] South America

In Brazil, these stores are called um e noventa e nove (one and ninety-nine, meaning BRL 1.99, about US 90 cents) usually written as 1,99 (note the decimal comma). They began to appear in the decade of 1990 possibly as a consequence of both the increase in the purchasing power of the low income classes after the curbing of hyperinflation and the decrease in middle-class net income due to a gradual increase in the national average tax load[citation needed].

Brazilians sometimes use the expression um e noventa e nove to refer to cheap, low quality things or even people.

[edit] Modern notable variety stores

Variety stores are often franchises.

[edit] North America

[edit] Europe

[edit] Asia

[edit] Australia

[edit] Economics

In economic terms, the pricing strategy of dollar stores is inefficient as some items may actually be sold elsewhere for less than a dollar. However, this is balanced by the marketing efficiencies of a single price structure and consumers accept potentially overpriced items. The pricing inefficiency becomes unacceptable at higher price points. Thus there are no "100 dollar stores" where all items sell for $100; consumers expect to pay the correct amount as inaccuracies result in significant dollar amounts.

Most merchandise in these stores is imported cheaply from foreign countries, most commonly in Asia.

[edit] In popular culture

[edit] See also

fr:Magasin à prix unique simple:Five and dime ja:100円ショップ zh:100圓店

Variety store

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