Los Angeles Business Journal

99 Cents on Rodeo Drive?

By Bethany Firnhaber Originally published October 9, 2012 at 2:23 p.m., updated October 9, 2012 at 3:36 p.m.

Deep discount retailer 99 Cents Only Stores on Tuesday said it’s looking for space to open a store on famed Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

The chain is known for its humorous advertising, but the chief executive told the Business Journal that he is serious about finding space there. “Our stores do well with all income levels and all demographics,” said Eric Schiffer. “Rich people like deals more than anybody.”

However, the Rodeo Drive Committee, which is made up of merchants and property owners there, expressed deep skepticism. In a statement, it said: “Based upon some of the highest commercial retail rents in the world and the fact that Rodeo Drive is experiencing the street’s highest occupancy in recent memory, it is highly unlikely that a 99 Cents store will ever open on the street. The company issued a similar statement 10 years ago, and the announcement never came to fruition.”

Jay Luchs, a broker for CBRE Group Inc. in West Los Angeles who represents most properties on Rodeo Drive, said the announcement must be a joke. “It’s not true, obviously,” he said.

As the store’s name implies, 99 Cents Only sells each item for less than $1. Rodeo Drive, by contrast, is one of America’s most luxurious shopping streets.

In Tuesday’s announcement, the Commerce company urged anyone with information about available retail space on the high-end shopping street to contact its real estate department.

Schiffer, the CEO, agreed that finding affordable space would be a challenge.

“We need to find a location where we can get a good deal on rent,” he said. “We’ll give the landlord a discount: They can buy anything in the store for 98 cents.”