Big Lots to close 35 to 40 stores; survival in question

Big Lots plans to shutter three times more stores than it will open in 2024, with the discount retailer pointing to a retreat in spending by its bargain-hunting base.

“We currently expect to open three stores and close 35 to 40,” the Columbus, Ohio-based retailer stated in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company also said it expects further operating losses and cited “substantial doubt” about its ability to continue as a going concern. 

The retailer’s distress call came amid other indications that inflation-weary Americans are tightening their belts and spending less, with U.S. economic growth slowing in the first three months of 2024. 

Big Lots last month reported a net loss of $205 million in the quarter ending May 4, 2024, with its president and CEO Bruce Thorn stating at the time that the company’s sales had taken a hit “due largely to a continued pullback in consumer spending by our core customers, particularly in high ticket discretionary items.”

The retailer’s sales fell 10% to $1 billion in its first quarter, according to Big Lots, which operates more than 1,300 stores in 48 states.

Big Lots did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to the locations of stores facing closure.

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