Big Lots is stepping up its response to the COVID-19 crisis, including further actions the company is taking to support its customers, associates and communities.
As a retailer of everyday home essentials, all Big Lots stores remain open for business and the company said has continued to exceed its sales expectations. The company said it has achieved positive month-to-date comps for fiscal April and positive quarter-to-date comps for the first fiscal quarter of 2020, including a significant acceleration of sales in the last two weeks.
The company is extending the $2 hourly increase for hourly store and distribution center associates through May, and also extending its 30% associate discount. Through the Big Lots Foundation, $1 million has been set aside for the company’s employee emergency assistance fund related to COVID-19.
To ensure a safe environment, the company has added new protocols including daily health screenings for in-store and distribution center associates completed prior to commencing a shift, using a new app the company developed that includes a brief questionnaire on the associate’s current health and possible exposure to COVID-19, and a self-administered temperature check.
The company has also expanded the availability of personal protective equipment for associates, including gloves and masks, particularly in high risk areas; installed protective shields between customers and cashiers at checkout stands in all stores; and limited store occupancy based on the size of the store and encouraging early shopping for seniors and those most vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Bruce Thorn, president and CEO of Big Lots, said, “I could not be prouder of how our team, at every level, has responded to the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. Providing a safe and healthy environment in our stores and distribution centers has been our number one priority. That in turn has enabled us to maintain business continuity and support our customers through these challenging times, resulting in positive quarter-to-date comps in-store as well as strong growth online. As a neighborhood discount store, in good times and bad, our mission is to help people ‘Live Big and Save Lots.’ We are particularly grateful to be able to support the heroes in our medical, first responder, and emergency services communities by extending our heroes discount through the end of May.”