Big Lots has a big year

The chain reported a full-year, same-store sales increase of 16.1% — double tat of the year prior — as it looks to add up to 60 stores in 2021.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Big Lots celebrated a big fourth quarter and even better full year, reporting a same-store sales increase of 16.1% for 2020, more than double the year prior. Net sales for the year were just shy of $6.2 billion.

As reported earlier in the year, the retailer’s Broyhill acquisition has been paying off well, and Big Lots brass feel it can become a $1 billion dollar brand for the company. Bruce Thorn, president and CEO of Big Lots said that for 2021, the Broyhill brand will continue to be expanded.

The fourth quarter was special for the Columbus, Ohio-based retailer, too, generating net sales of $1.7 billion, an 8.1% increase in comparable sales. 

"I am pleased to report that our fiscal fourth quarter ended strongly, with a record fourth quarter comparable sales increase despite softer than planned traffic in December and inventory and supply chain challenges during the quarter,” Thorn said. “We also delivered another stellar quarter of growth across our e-commerce and omnichannel platforms with sales increasing over 130%. Throughout the quarter, our strategic investments and the nimbleness of our teams allowed us to serve our customers better than ever, as well as adjust to market dynamics to deliver excellent top-line and bottom-line results."

The chain has more than 1,400 stores currently but also said its planning on opening up to 60 new stores in the year ahead, compared with the 20 stores it opened and 24 it closed last year. The retailer also aims to leverage a richer data-driven space planning to optimize its stores and merchandising. 

“Focusing on safe productivity, we will have better analytical tools to impact future buy cycle, optimize floor plans per store, further optimize allocation and replenishment and improve store compliance for planogram execution,” Thorn said. “We expect that these capabilities will greatly enhance our productivity store-by-store and category-by-category with the focus on shelf availability of relevant products. Most importantly, it will create a more relevant customer assortment to increase sales and increase customer satisfaction, fueling return visits. We are excited to be adding this tool to our merchandise program as we transform the way we work.”