Big Lots opens two Asia-based buying offices

Big Lots
Big Lots operates more than 1,300 stores in 48 states.

Big Lots is bolstering its global product sourcing capabilities.

The discount retailer said that it has opened two international buying offices, “strategically” located in Shanghai, China and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in a move to enhance its competitiveness in sourcing products, including closeout deals and extreme bargains. 

The initiative is expected to yield significant operational cost savings beginning this year and will bring the chain’s long-time, exclusive third-party agent's sourcing team in-house as Big Lots' Asia sourcing team. The new international buying offices will also create a stronger platform for overseas procurement and assortment optimization as part of Big Lots' strategy to reclaim its bargain heritage, the company said.

"Global sourcing is key to our ability to add newness and expanded assortment at extreme value prices for our shoppers," said Bruce K. Thorn, president and CEO, Big Lots. "Today's announcement positions us for even greater success in a changing global marketplace as we create more extreme bargains and everyday great values for our customers. We are very pleased to welcome this seasoned sourcing team to the Big Lots family."

The move also aims to help Big Lots expand its sourcing network for critical categories such as furniture, seasonal items, and soft home goods to developing markets in Central and South America, Africa and other regions.

The offices will be under the leadership of Kevin Kuehl, Big Lots’ senior VP and general merchandising manager, out of the corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. According to Kuehl, the company's buyers will be strategically situated near significant manufacturing facilities and vendor partners in Asia. 

In February, Big Lots closed on a deal to acquire the entire inventory of the Hearthsong brand of children's toys. The inventory, valued at more than $22 million, will bring more than 500 new SKUs to Big Lots stores across the country.

Big Lots operates more than 1,300 stores in 48 states, as well as an e-commerce site.

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