Big Lots Expects Bigger Things as Economy Rebounds
Big Lots, along with many other discounters, benefited as the economy went
into a prolonged tailspin beginning in 2008. Now that times are better, the
closeout specialist is looking to build on its gains.
“We are definitely a fan of an improving economic environment. We believe we
would flourish much more in an expanding economy,” Joe Cooper, chief
financial officer of Big Lots, told attendees at a recent conference held by
Big Lots, according to a Dow Jones report, is opening
more upscale outlets as it finds it easier to get great deals on higher quality
merchandise. Its ability to offer these items at a significant discount has
continued to attract new shoppers to its stores. The chain plans to add 30
higher-end stores that are located in “power
strips” featuring more prestigious retailers.
“There has been a shift towards value and we believe that shift is permanent,” said
Looking to add to its more upscale appeal, Big Lots recently began accepting
American Express cards in its stores. The chain has also remodeled stores and
added a loyalty program.
Food and consumables represent about 30 percent of Big Lots’ business. Mr.
Cooper called it, “Our single largest category, and it is heavily branded and
The rest of the business is split between five discretionary categories, according
to a report by Home Textiles Today. Home items, including domestics
and home décor, account for somewhere between 12 and 15 percent of Big
“Across the retail landscape in the last three to six months, we believe
the discretionary spending environment has improved and we are well positioned
for future sales growth,” Mr. Cooper said.
Discussion Question: How much will Big Lots’ growth be hastened or
slowed by an improving economy? What is your analysis of
Big Lots’ plans to grow its business including expansion of more upscale
outlets, by the chain’s standards?
- Discounter Big Lots Expects
Boon From Economy’s Recovery – Dow Jones
Newswires/The Wall Street Journal
Lots’ home category still going strong – Home Textiles