Big Lots closing dozens of stores, putting survival in question

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Discount retailer Big Lots expects to close “35 to 40” stores by the end of the year, according to a U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) filing last month.

In the 280-page filing, the company noted “substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue” due to shoppers pulling back on spending due to inflation.

Ohio-based Big Lots operates more than 1,300 stores across 48 U.S. states, according to a June earnings press release. Last month, Big Lots reported a net loss of $205 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2024 that ended on May 4. 

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Net sales were down 10.2% from the same period last year. 

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“While we made substantial progress on improving our business operations in Q1, we missed our sales goals due largely to a continued pullback in consumer spending by our core customers, particularly in high ticket discretionary items,” Bruce Thorn, president and CEO of Big Lots said in the release.

“We remain focused on managing through the current economic cycle by controlling the controllables. As we move forward, we’re taking aggressive actions to drive positive comp sales growth in the latter part of the year and into 2025, and to maintain year-over-year gross margin rate improvements, all driven by progress on our five key actions.”

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Big Lots’ corporate website says it employs 35,000 associates. Its mission is to help customers “live big and save lots” by offering bargains on everything from home goods, furniture, decor, pet supplies, seasonal items and more. 

The retailer has been losing money and relying on dwindling cash since 2022, according to the New York Post, raising bankruptcy concerns.

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Big Lots did not respond to a FOX Business request for comment. The company expects to open three new stores this year, and has not yet publicized a list of the dozens shuttering. 

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