Five Below Slammed Over Soaring Prices: "It's Greed at This Point"
Customers witnessed prices being changed while shopping in-store.
Just because a retailer is known as a "dollar store," that doesn't necessarily mean every item is at that price point. Dollar Tree upped its base price point to $1.25 last year, and both Family Dollar and Dollar General have historically sold items beyond those priced at a buck. Now, Five Below—a discount chain originally founded on the concept of all items selling for $5 or less—is another retailer with a misnomer. According to a video recently posted on TikTok, Five Below is now facing backlash for its higher prices, with some dubbing it "greed." Read on to find out why shoppers are up in arms.
A TikToker witnessed a Five Below employee manually updating prices.
In a TikTok video posted earlier this month by @einstiensdaughter, a Five Below employee is seen on a ladder updating t-shirt prices on the store wall. The t-shirts are shown priced at $5, but the employee then adds another decal to update the price to $5.55.
In text overlaying the video, @einstiensdaughter wrote, "We literally witnessed the change," with the chorus to "American Pie" by Don McLean playing in the background.
More expensive items are part of an ongoing initiative.
While the TikToker witnessed an in-store update just weeks ago, Five Below has had adjustments to its pricing structure in the works for some time now.
In 2019, price tags were raised beyond the $5 mark, mainly affecting tech items, toys, and games, Forbes reported. The new tech items were part of the "Ten Below Tech" format, while the toys and games were priced between $6 and $10 in the "Ten Below Gift Shop."
Earlier this year, the discount chain confirmed that another higher-price section—Five Beyond—would be introduced to 400 additional stores in 2023. This involves a store-within-a-store concept, where Five Beyond has a designated section in the Five Below store.
Best Life reached out to Five Below for comment on the TikTok—and clarification on whether the t-shirts are part of the Five Beyond initiative—and will update the story upon hearing back.
Customers blasted the increases.
Five Below CEO Joel Anderson said in January that customers were responding positively to stores with the new format, but some on TikTok have a far less favorable opinion. Shoppers expressed frustration with price hikes, which have been constant at stores in general—and amplified by ongoing inflation.
"So sick of these price increases," one commenter wrote, while another added, "I don't shop there anymore. It's not the same. And that was my favorite store."
Others weren't as concerned, noting that they've seen items above $5. But there were ample disappointed voices.
"RIP 5 and BELOW it's 5 and Up," a TikToker wrote, while another went so far as to assert, "[It's] no longer inflation…[it's] greed at this point."
Five Below isn't the only retailer making changes.
"First Dollar Tree now 5 Below?" a comment on @einstiensdaughter's recent video reads.
Another said, "5 below turned into 5 above and dollar tree turned into 1.25 and up tree in the same year."
But Dollar Tree is making yet another change this year that customers might not be thrilled about: The retailer is now selling more items between $3 and $5. The chain also has a separate higher-priced product line called Dollar Tree Plus (similar to Five Beyond).
According to statements made by Dollar Tree CEO Rick Dreiling in June, introducing higher price points is a natural move following its last pricing shift.
"The hard part has been done," Dreiling said, per Winsight Grocery Business. "That leap to $1.25 was painful but that is done now, and it's time for us to capitalize on it."