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Big Lot Q3 profit more than doubles, raises forecast


Columbus, Ohio Big Lots said Friday that its profit more than doubled in the fiscal third quarter, helped by the sale of a store, lower expenses and reduced inventory. The discount retailer also boosted its full-year earnings forecast, citing its quarterly performance and raised expectations for the fourth quarter.

Big Lots earned $30.3 million, compared with $12.2 million a year earlier. Sales for the three months ended Oct. 31 rose 2% to $1.04 billion from $1.02 billion, surpassing Wall Street's sales estimate of $1.02 billion.

Same-store sales dipped 0.2% in the quarter.

Big Lots also said it will buy back $150 million of common shares, starting immediately.

The company, which has been signing deals to open stores in better locations as other retailers shut shop, said it opened 52 new stores this year, which is two more than initially planned for.

It also cut back on store closures, expecting to shut 30 locations instead of the prior estimate of 40.

Big Lots has worked to combat the pullback in consumer spending during the recession through cost-control efforts and tight inventory management. The company trimmed inventory to $918 million from $958 million in the quarter and lowered its selling and administrative expenses to $365.2 million from $366.5 million.

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