Failing dollar stores blame shoplifters. No-one's buying it anymore.

Retailers like to blame shoplifting for their business woes (even if they must eventually admit they lied) and media, desperate for stories of America drowning in crime, are generally eager to play along. But I liked how CNN dealt with the announcement that 1000 Family Dollar stores were closing and the bankruptcy of 99 Cents Only: Nathaniel Meyersohn swiftly moves on from the companies' empty whining about shoplifting to get to the compound incompetence.

Years of strategic mistakes and underinvestment have plagued Family Dollar and 99 Cents Only, retail analysts say. Both brands were acquired by other companies and faltered under their new owners. … Since the "botched acquisition," Family Dollar "has caused [owner] Dollar Tree nothing but hassle," Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, said in a recent note to clients. "Basically, almost ten years on, Dollar Tree is still sifting through the mess it inherited and has not been able to completely turn around."

99 Cents Only, a chain on the West Coast and Texas, has also suffered from missteps, including stores that were too large and inefficient to run.

"They never had the right business model. They were never going to get there," said David D'Arezzo, a former top executive at Dollar General and other retailers.

Many of these places are run like this: take a 5000+ square foot unit and have one minimum wage worker on the till and one trying to shelf all the crap that gets delivered. Just pile it up wherever, it's fine. Yes, of course, shoplifting!