Dime Stores, also known as five-and-ten-cent stores and variety stores, began in the late nineteenth century and developed into a major sector of U.S. retailing. However, changes in shopping patterns and new forms of retailing in the 1970s and 1980s caused the virtual demise of dime stores by the early 1990s.
The five-and-ten-cent stores copied the department store concept of a wide variety of merchandise. The dime stores lowered prices for housewares and other products, so European immigrants and rural Americans, who had moved to the cities, could afford to buy merchandise in incredible volumes. The stores' major merchandise classifications in the early days included toys, notions (sewing supplies), china, glassware, stationery, shoes, and Christmas ornaments. In time, candy and toiletries also became big sellers.