In a signal it is confident in its strategic direction, Big Lots announced that its board of directors initiated a cash dividend program. The initial quarterly cash dividend will be 17 cents per common share, payable on July 29 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on July 11.
At the same time, the company affirmed second quarter guidance for income from continuing operations of 24 cents to 30 cents per diluted share and for comparable store sales in the range of up 1% to 3%.
In announcing the move, David Campisi, president and CEO of Big Lots stated, “Over the last year, we have worked diligently to reposition our company for long-term sustainable growth. We’ve made significant improvements to our merchandise product offerings, marketing activities, and we are implementing several key strategic initiatives intended to improve comparable store sales and the overall shopping experience for Jennifer. Today’s announcement demonstrates the confidence we have as a board of directors in our management team, our strategy, and our long-term opportunities to drive meaningful profit growth and cash flow to return to our shareholders.”
Campisi noted that, during the past several years, “the business has returned in excess of $2 billion dollars to shareholders by repurchasing 74 million shares at an average price of approximately $27 per share. We believe this represents very good execution and has driven value for our shareholders. After careful deliberation and considering feedback obtained from investors as part of our shareholder outreach program, we will begin to institute a more balanced approach of returning cash to shareholders by introducing a regular quarterly dividend to supplement this year’s and anticipated future share repurchase activity. We are confident the dividend program we announced today along with our recently completed $125 million share repurchase program fit comfortably within our expected cash flow for 2014.”