Ares and CPPIB-backed 99 Cents Only Stores appoints new CEO

Discount retailer 99 Cents Only Stores LLC, which is backed by Ares Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, has named Jack Sinclair as its new CEO as Geoffrey Covert is retiring. Sinclair joined the company in 2015 as chief merchandising and marketing officer.


CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif., Feb. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — 99 Cents Only Stores LLC (the “Company”), a deep-discount retailer with nearly 400 stores in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada, announced that Jack Sinclair has been named Chief Executive Officer upon the retirement of retail industry veteran, Geoffrey Covert. Mr. Sinclair joined the company in 2015 as Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer and worked closely with Mr. Covert to dramatically improve the Company’s financial performance and position the Company for growth.

“99 Cents Only Stores is one of the most iconic and unique brands in retail today,” said Mr. Sinclair. “I am privileged to serve with a team that has laid a solid foundation for success and that delivers unparalleled value and a unique customer experience. We look forward to continued growth, welcoming new customers to our existing stores and introducing our stores to new communities. We have ambitious goals and our growth trajectory is just beginning.”

Mr. Sinclair has led significant retail businesses in the United States and the UK in his 35-year retail career. He led the Grocery business of Walmart US from 2007 to 2015, having previously spent 14 years at Safeway PLC in London where he had responsibility for Operations, Merchandising and Marketing. As Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer at 99 Cents Only Stores, Mr. Sinclair refocused the merchandise team on its core mission of providing exceptional value with top-name brands, closeouts, fresh produce and seasonal offerings.

“Jack is deeply committed to 99 Cents Only Stores and has been a tremendous advocate for our associates, customers and communities,” said Mr. Covert. “I am confident that we have put the company on a path to success and continued profitable growth.”

Mr. Covert’s retirement caps a 44-year career in the grocery retail sector with some of the most iconic brands in the world. Under Mr. Covert’s leadership as Chief Executive Officer since September 2015, 99 Cents Only Stores has successfully grown both revenue and Adjusted EBITDA. The Company has outpaced the industry through a focus on enhancing its merchandising selection and improving the customer shopping experience. This positive operating momentum was instrumental in facilitating the three-year extension of the Company’s capital structure announced in December 2017 and positioning the Company for the next stage of growth.

“Geoff’s contributions to 99 Cents Only Stores have been invaluable and we are grateful for his leadership,” said David Kaplan, Co-Founder and Global Private Equity Co-Head of Ares Management, L.P. “Today the Company is well positioned to extend its recent growth trajectory, thanks to Geoff’s stewardship and Jack’s unique understanding of our business model, knowledge of the industry, and proven track record.”

Jason Kidd has been appointed as President and Chief Operating Officer, reporting to Mr. Sinclair. Mr. Kidd has over 25 years of retail experience and joined the Company in 2014 as Senior Vice President of Store Operations. Prior to joining 99, Mr. Kidd held a Senior Vice President role with Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart Stores Inc. Mr. Kidd’s career has included senior positions in Operations, Communications, Planning, Integration and Merchandising.

Norman Axelrod, a Director since 2012, has been named Chair of the Board, succeeding Andrew Giancamilli, who will continue to serve as a Director. Felicia Thornton has been named Vice Chair of the Board and will continue to serve in her current capacity as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer.

The Company also announced certain preliminary financial results. Preliminary unaudited annual fiscal 2018 revenue is expected to be between $2.26 and 2.27 billion (on a 53-week basis), with an estimated annual same store sales increase of 8.0% to 8.5%. Preliminary unaudited fourth quarter fiscal 2018 same store sales are expected to increase by 6.0% to 7.0%, representing same store sales growth of over 12% on a two-year stack basis. The fourth quarter benefitted from strong holiday sales performance with Christmas sell through of approximately 88%. 99 Cents Only Stores has now achieved eight consecutive quarters of positive same store sales.

The estimates above are preliminary and may change. The Company has provided a range for certain preliminary results described above primarily because its financial closing procedures for the audit for the year ended February 2, 2018 are not yet complete. The Company’s final results for this period may differ from these estimates, including as a result of year-end closing procedures or audit adjustments and any such changes could be material. In addition, these preliminary results of operations for the year ended February 2, 2018 are not necessarily indicative of the results to be achieved for any future period. Ernst & Young LLP, the Company’s independent auditors, has not audited, reviewed, compiled or performed any procedures with respect to the accompanying preliminary financial data.

About 99 Cents Only Stores
Founded in 1982, 99 Cents Only Stores LLC is the leading operator of extreme value stores in California and the Southwestern United States. The Company currently operates 391 stores located in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada. 99 Cents Only Stores LLC offers a broad assortment of name brand and other attractively priced merchandise and compelling seasonal product offerings. For more information, visit