Holiday shoppers are trying to get more bang for their buck this season and are now turning to dollar stores, especially if they are on a tight budget. NBC4's Ted Chen reports
Christmas is right around the corner, which means you still have some time to squeeze more value out of your holiday shopping. And people aren't just turning to last-minute sales to save some money. They are now hitting up dollar stores around town.
The items at discount stores are plentiful and sweet, especially in this tough economy. The prices are helping out families, like the Stephens, stretch their tight budgets.
"Basically, you find all the good stuff here that you find at the regular stores, but it's cheaper," said shopper Mark Stephen.
"You find better deals here," added another shopper, Lauren Bro.
Sales are up more than 4 percent at dollar stores in the fourth quarter and up 6 percent at 99-Cent stores. The 99-Cent store chain is based in Commerce, with 292 stores in four states. Their store on Wilshire Boulevard is the number one in sales volume. CEO Eric Schiffer said that a big reason for the high sales is because the store is located near Beverly Hills.
"It's the number one store. It does over $12 million a year. It's very busy," said Schiffer.
Customers are not only snapping up food deals for the holidays, but there are also gift bags, clothes and toys for just $1 each.
Competitors argue that the quality at dollar stores may suffer because of the cheap prices, but Schiffer points out that his discount stores also carry name brands.
"We're all taught in school, that if it's a low price, there must be something wrong with it. You get what you pay for," he said. "But, I think people are getting smarter these days with stores like Trader Joe's and Costco. People understand that you can save money and the value is still good."
The teetering economy right now is bringing in a lot of new customers, but Schiffer said its loyal customers, like the Stephens family, that keep these stores moving along.
"I'm here basically every week. Its our regular store," said Stephen.
The popularity of these stores seems cuts across all income groups. A new survey shows that the biggest growth drivers are people earning more than $100,000 a year.