Big Lots

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Big Lots, Inc.
Type Public
Traded as NYSEBIG
Industry Retail
Founded 1967
Headquarters Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Number of locations 1,415 (July 2011)[1]
Key people David J. Campisi, President, Chairman and CEO
Products Overstock/closeout merchandise
Revenue Increase US$5.202 Billion (FY 2011)[2]
Operating income Decrease US$346 Million (FY 2011)[2]
Net income Decrease US$207 Million (FY 2011)[2]
Total assets Increase US$1.641 Billion (FY 2011)[2]
Total equity Decrease US$823 Million (FY 2011)[2]
Employees 37,400(Jan 2012)[2]

Big Lots, Inc. is a American retail company and is a Fortune 500 retail corporation headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, incorporated[2] in the State of Ohio. Big Lots has over 1,400 stores in 48 states.[3]

Its department stores sell a wide variety of merchandise, including packaged food and beverages, toys, furniture, clothing, housewares, and small electronics, much of which is closed out or overstocked merchandise. Many of the items in these stores sell out quickly: in the store one day, but gone the next, with no replenishments coming. Many other items, such as foodstuffs, are stocked continually.

In many cases, Big Lots uses buildings formerly occupied by other stores. When Rite Aid Inc moved many Payless Drugstores into newly designed, stand-alone buildings, Big Lots (Pic 'N' Save) opened many new stores of its own in those newly vacant, open-air plaza storefronts.


The Big Lots chain traces its history back to 1967,[4] when Consolidated Stores Corporation was formed in Ohio by Sol Shenk. In 1982, Consolidated Stores Corp. opened its first closeout store, called Odd Lots, in Columbus, Ohio.[4] In 1983, drug store chain Revco bought New Jersey closeout retailer Odd Lot Trading Co. As Consolidated's Odd Lots stores expanded from Columbus, Revco took issue with the fact that another closeout retailer was operating a chain with national aspirations that had a similar name as the Revco-owned subsidiary. Consolidated Stores Corp. agreed to limit their use of the Odd Lots name to stores located within a certain radius of Columbus. Beyond the radius, Consolidated began opening stores under the Big Lots name. Eventually, all Odd Lots stores were rebranded as Big Lots. In 1985, Consolidated Stores Corp. began trading as a separate public company on the American Stock Exchange.[4] In 1986, Consolidated Stores Corp. switched to the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol CNS.[4]

Entrance to Big Lots in Englewood, Colorado A former Children's Palace in Englewood, Colorado
This Murrieta, California Big Lots was a former Pic 'N' Save store.

Consolidated Stores Corp. was an investor in the De Lorean Motor Company, which declared bankruptcy in 1982. Consolidated took possession of approximately 100 De Lorean DMC-12 models, then still at the factory in Northern Ireland, when the US importer was unable to import them. This unusual excess inventory acquisition is commemorated on the Big Lots web site's "Closeout Museum" page.

In 1994, Consolidated Stores Corp. acquired Toy Liquidators, adding 82 stores in 38 states. Looking to expand further into the toys business, Consolidated Stores Corp. purchased KB Toys from Melville Corporation in 1996. In 2000, Consolidated Stores Corp. sold the KB Toys and Toy Liquidators lines to private equity shops. A year later, the company decided to focus on the Big Lots brand, and on May 16, 2001, Consolidated Stores Corp. changed its name to Big Lots, Inc. and its ticker symbol from CNS to BLI. By the end of 2002, Big Lots Inc. completed a nationwide conversion to the single Big Lots brand. In 2002, Big Lots Inc. bought out 'MacFrugals' (Pic 'N' Save) stores for $995 million in stock and converted those to the Big Lots brand. Recently, Big Lots has expanded by opening hundreds of new stores.

In the later part of 2005, Big Lots closed 170 stores, including all free-standing Big Lots Furniture specialty stores. Most Big Lots stores have furniture departments which sell upholstered furniture (sofas, love seats, and recliners), Serta mattresses, fully assembled and ready to assemble furniture. Some, primarily smaller, stores only carry a limited assortment of mattresses and ready to assemble furniture.

On August 3, 2006, Big Lots announced it would change its New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol from BLI to BIG, beginning with trading activity on August 18, 2006.

Big Lots Wholesale[edit]

Big Lots also operates a wholesale division which provides merchandise in bulk for resale from a variety of categories. This is a separate division of Big Lots and does not carry the same merchandise found in the retail stores. Big Lots Wholesale also attends trade shows and has permanent showrooms in Columbus, Ohio; New York; and the Boston and Chicago areas.

Big lots closed its wholesale division at the end of the 2013 fiscal year.[5]

Big Lots Canada[edit]

Main article: LW Stores

On July 19, 2011, Big Lots announced that it had purchased Liquidation World Inc., a Canadian closeout retailer with 89 locations. The cost of the acquisition was $20 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities. This represents Big Lots first retail venture outside of the US.

The first Big Lots location opened in April 2013 in Orillia, Ontario followed by Burlington, Ontario, Niagara Falls, Ontario, and St. Catharines, Ontario. The next store is opening in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

On Dec, 5 2013 Big Lots announced that it will exit the Canadian marketplace citing poor sales. All stores were shut down by February 2014. [6]


  1. ^ Big Lots Reports Second Quarter Sales Results
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Big Lots, Form 10-K, Annual Report, Filing Date Mar 26, 2012". Retrieved Feb 14, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Big Lots: Company Overview". 
  4. ^ a b c d
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Big Lots Getting Back Out Of Canada". 

External links[edit]

Media related to Big Lots at Wikimedia Commons