Brand Names, Closeout Prices
|Formerly called||Consolidated Stores Corp.|
|Traded as||NYSE: BIG|
|Number of locations||1,493 (2012)|
|Key people||David J. Campisi, President, Chairman and CEO
Lisa Bachmann, Executive Vice President and COO
|Revenue||US$5.301 Billion (FY 2013)|
|Operating income||US$1.904 Million (FY 2013)|
|Net income||US$1.252 Million (FY 2013)|
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 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. 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. In 1986, Consolidated Stores Corp. switched to the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol CNS.
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
Big Lots operated a wholesale division which provided merchandise in bulk for resale from a variety of categories. This was a separate division of Big Lots and did not carry the same merchandise found in the retail stores. Big Lots Wholesale also attended trade shows and had permanent showrooms in Columbus, New York; and the Boston and Chicago areas.
Big Lots closed its wholesale division at the end of the 2013 Fiscal Year. The Columbus-based closeout retailer had conducted wholesale operations through Big Lots Wholesale, Consolidated International and Wisconsin Toy for more than 34 years. 
Big Lots Canada
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, St. Catharines, Ontario and Thunder Bay, Ontario.
On December, 5 2013 Big Lots announced that it will exit the Canadian marketplace citing poor sales. All stores were shut down by February 2014. The company expected to post a loss from the Canadian operations in the fourth quarter of $38 million to $43 million, mostly on severance, leases and asset writedowns. It expected to lose another $44 million to $47 million in the first quarter next year.
- "Big Lots 2013 Annual Report". Big Lots, Inc. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- "Big Lots: Company Overview".
- O'Donnell, Michael (28 March 2013). "Pharmaceutical mogul dies". Idaho State Journal. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Big Lots: History". Big Lots. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Big Lots Introduces New Name To Pic ‘N’ Save Customers". Big Lots: News Center. Big Lots, Inc. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "SEC 10k Filing". 2006 Annual Report. Part III (Part 3): 14. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- Feran, Tim (11 November 2013). "Big Lots to shut down wholesale division". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Buchanan, Doug (5 December 2013). "Big Lots getting back out of Canada". Columbus Business First. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
Media related to Big Lots at Wikimedia Commons