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Big Lots expects lower 3Q comps


COLUMBUS, Ohio Big Lots today updated its sales and earnings expectations for the third quarter ending Nov. 3.

The company has lowered its comparable-store sales expectations to be slightly negative. The company's original guidance called for an increase in comparable-store sales in the range of 1% to 3%. The expected slight decline in comparable-store sales is against a 5.8% comp increase last year which was the strongest quarterly performance of the year in fiscal 2006. The company expects earnings to be near the high end of its previously communicated guidance of 9 cents to 13 cents per diluted share, which would result in the company's best third quarter performance to date. 

The company said its best performing categories during the third quarter have been furniture, consumables, and hardlines. In contrast, sales comps of toys, home, and fall seasonal merchandise are below plan and below last year. On a regional basis, sales results have been strongest in the Central region while comps in the Western and Southeastern regions have trailed the company average.

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