Big Lots Q2 beats Street with best comp-sales in its history

Marianne Wilson
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Big Lots reported record second-quarter results amid surging sales – in stores and online.  

The discounter’s net sales increased to $1.64 billion for the quarter ended Aug.1, up from $1.25 billion in the year-ago period. Comparable sales rose 31.3%, driven by strong results in-store, where traffic and basket were each up double digits, and online, which drove almost five comp points. Big Lots said it acquired more new online customers during the quarter than in any prior period. 

Earnings totaled $452 million, or $11.29 per share, including a one-time after-tax benefit of $341.9 million, or $8.54 per share, related to the sale of distribution centers through a leaseback deal. Adjusted earnings were $2.75 per share, topping the $2.70 that analysts expected.

“Our comp increase was the best in the company's history, and adjusted EPS was the most we've reported in a second quarter, and more than five times what we reported a year ago,” said president and CEO Bruce Thorn. "Looking forward, the third quarter is off to a strong start and I am confident that our Operation North Star strategies will continue to drive top-line growth, increase customer engagement, and deliver tremendous leverage in our business. With our assortment of everyday essentials and stay-at-home products, we are well-positioned for what appears to be a new normal.”

Inventory ended at $714 million compared with $874 million a year earlier. The decrease resulted from strong sales results in all merchandise categories and a slightly lower store count year-over-year, the company said.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Big Lots has 1,407 stores in 47 states.