Rising Prices Weigh on Big Lots Q1 Results

The discount retailer is responding to economic headwinds by managing inventory levels and seeking additional opening pricepoint opportunities.
Greg Sleter
Associate Publisher/Executive Editor
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Big Lots store

Feeling the negative impact of higher gas prices and overall inflation , Big Lots first quarter sales and net revenue were down for the period ending April 30.

Net sales for the quarter were $1.37 billion, down 15.4% from the comparable quarter the previous year. Comparable store sales were down 17%. The retailer reported a net loss of $11.1 million, or $0.39 per share.

We believe the slowdown was caused by the spending pressure our consumers felt from higher gas prices and broader inflation, which is affecting discretionary purchases across the retail industry,” said Bruce Thorn, president and CEO of Big Lots. “As a result, we missed our sales plan by approximately $100 million, the vast majority in April.”

Despite the challenges, Thorn noted there were some positive notes in the quarter, most notably Big Lots’ Broyhill and Real Living private label brands that have reached close to 30% of total company sales. 

“This has positioned us well to pursue consumer trade-down opportunities ahead,” he added. 

Thorn noted the company has “reacted quickly” to changes in consumer demand by increasing value offerings to its shoppers. While he expects the economic environment to remain challenging in the months ahead, he said Big Lots is focused on managing its business, which includes right-sizing inventories over the course of the second quarter.

“We are focused on opening price points that drive traffic and improving gross margin rates through capitalizing on significant close-out opportunities, more targeted pricing and promotions, minimizing supply chain charges and reducing shrink,” he said.