Closeout Retailer Targets New Shoppers

Jun 25, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Big Lots is looking to broaden its appeal and attract shoppers beyond its lower-middle income base, according to the Indianapolis Star.

The 1,400 store chain is remodeling stores, identifying product categories it needs to have in-stock daily and earlier this year, improving in-store merchandising and increasing advertising expenditures.

A spokesperson for the chain, Pat Zeigler, told the Indianapolis Star the remodels have been successful in boosting store sales. “We’re trying to think brand identity, so when you think Big Lots, you think closeout goods at very good prices,” she said.

Jim Lowry, a marketing professor at Ball State University said Big Lots is looking to expand its customer base with the changes it is making. “They’re trying to appeal a little bit more to a market other than just the price-conscious. They want to become a little nicer store.”

Richard Feinberg, director of the Center for Customer-Driven Quality at Purdue, believes the retailer has a tremendous upside because it “doing what Wal-Mart did when Wal-Mart first started, and that is capture a market that no one was capturing before.”

Moderator’s Comment: Is Big Lots capturing a market
no one else is? What must the retailer do to expand beyond its existing customer

Never knowing what is going to be in-stock makes the Big
Lots’ shopping experience a bit of an adventure and also fun. To maintain consistently
high traffic, however, it will need to identify categories that bring in shoppers
on a more frequent basis. This will require a commitment by the company to always
have certain items in stock.
Anderson – Moderator

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