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Passing the buck: Dollar Tree raises prices to $1.25

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 04: Glassware is offered for sale at a Dollar Tree store on March 04, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Dollar Tree said that it will open 600 new stores this year, 400 under the Dollar Tree Name and 200 under the Family Dollar name, which the company also owns.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 04: Glassware is offered for sale at a Dollar Tree store on March 04, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Dollar Tree said that it will open 600 new stores this year, 400 under the Dollar Tree Name and 200 under the Family Dollar name, which the company also owns.
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For 35 years, the discount chain Dollar Tree committed to sell almost everything for $1. Time has come to pass the buck: Prices for most items will increase to $1.25.

Each year, the value of a dollar is eroded by inflation, making a dollar price commitment more difficult to maintain. Last month, inflation reached the highest rate since 1990.

Dollar Tree’s rivals have been veering away from strict $1 prices — or even $5, in the case of Five Below. Now, the final stickler is conceding. Dollar Tree plans to roll out higher prices to all stores by early 2022.

The company has been testing higher-priced products for months, adding Dollar Tree Plus stores with products at $3 and $5. In September, the company said shoppers had a “positive reaction” and announced plans to try $1.25 and $1.50 at some traditional Dollar Tree locations. On Tuesday, it said that test, too, produced “overwhelmingly positive” results from undeterred shoppers.

To abide by the $1 restriction, the discount chain had to stop selling some sizes and products — which it hopes to return to its shelves.

Dollar Tree CEO Michael Witynski argued that raising prices above $1 was “not a reaction to short-term or transitory market conditions,” he said in a statement. But Witynski did also add that “the additional price point [affords Dollar Tree] greater flexibility to manage the overall business, especially in a volatile, inflationary environment.”

Dollar stores have been among the fastest-growing chains in the U.S., adding hundreds of locations over the course of the pandemic.

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