Big Lots Announces Plans To Close Wholesale Operations, Boost Retail

Big Lots, Inc. has announced it plans to close Big Lots Wholesale, Consolidated International, and Wisconsin Toy wholesale operations fiscal 2013’s end. In the wind-down period, the wholesale business will liquidate its inventory, the company stated, and associates where and when possible will be assimilated into the retail operations.

David Campisi, president and CEO, said in comments on the move, “As part of our strategic planning process, we have to make difficult decisions about existing businesses or investments where we are not generating a good financial return or where we do not see an opportunity to win longer term. As such, we have made the determination that closing our wholesale business is in the best interest of our company and our shareholders. This is not a decision we take lightly, as a number of associates who have been dedicated and worked very hard in an effort to grow the wholesale business will be impacted. Over the years, the wholesale business environment has changed, become increasingly more competitive, and the sales and margin growth opportunities are not what they once were.”

With the closures, Campisi said that the company estimates recording a pretax charge in the range of $5 to $8 million during the third quarter of fiscal 2013. This charge was not included in financial guidance provided on August 30.  Big Lots intends to wind down the wholesale operations during the upcoming fourth quarter.

Campisi continued, “The leadership team of the company is working diligently and is deeply committed to delivering a comprehensive and detailed long-range strategic plan. As such, we are evaluating all aspects of our current operations and potential new business opportunities to chart a new course, a course where we believe we have the best opportunity to win and provide value for our customers, our associates, and our shareholders. We have already identified and begun to execute towards several new initiatives such as the expansion of our cooler and freezer program, the introduction of furniture financing, and our desire to enter the digital, social and omnichannel space. Each of these opportunities, and there are many more under development, are designed to better serve our target customer, Jennifer. These new initiatives also represent potential growth and development for our associates here in Columbus and in our field operations team.”

Big Lots currently operate 1,527 namesake stores in the 48 contiguous United States, five namesake stores in Canada, and 74 Liquidation World and LW stores in Canada. Wholesale operations are conducted through Big Lots Wholesale, Consolidated International and Wisconsin Toy as well as