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DALLAS-Citing better-than-anticipated January 2009 sales figures, 99 Cents Only Stores has decided to remain in Texas after all. The Southern California-headquartered company has given its close to 50 Texas stores a reprieve, with plans to re-evaluate the Texas operations in about four to six months.

However, according to a press release from the company, the board of directors directed its management to close approximately one-third of the Texas stores by March 28, 2009, its fiscal year end. It’s not certain which stores will be under the gun, and calls to the City of Commerce, CA-located 99 Cents Only Stores were not returned by deadline.

The discount retail operator announced in mid-September 2008 it would exit the Texas market following what it called “extended operating losses” in the region. The plan was to shutter the stores by the end of 2008 and focus on the core markets of California, Arizona and Nevada. Meanwhile, company chairman Dave Gold made an offer to buy the Texas operations.

However, same-store operations in Texas increased 8.6% during a four-week period ending January 24, 2009 compared to a rate of 0.8% during the five-week period that ended on December 27, 2008. Following this information, Gold’s offer was rejected, with the board voting on January 31 to continue operations in two-thirds of its Texas stores. Additionally, the company’s Texas distribution center will remain open to serve the retail outlets with more product inventory, which had been reduced in anticipation of closing.

Ian Pierce, who works with the market research department at the Dallas-based Weitzman Group tells GlobeSt.com he’s not surprised by 99 Cents’ decision to stay put for the time being. The market trends increasingly continue to favor discounters in this down environment and “on top of that, Texas continues to outperform most other major markets, even though our economy has slowed,” Pierce remarks. “99 Cents Only operates well-merchandised stores, and their announcement noted that their January sales showed increases.”

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