Big Lots Sees Potential for 1,800 Stores

New York City Big Lots Inc.'s chief executive said on Wednesday that the closeout retailer is ready to grow and has the potential to expand its store base by roughly one-third to 1,800 locations, according to a Reuters report.

"We're highly motivated to open more stores at the right price," CEO Steve Fishman said at the Piper Jaffray Annual Consumer Conference in New York City.

The company, which specializes in sales of excess inventory, currently operates 1,353 stores in 47 states, with the highest concentration of its stores in California, Texas, Florida and Ohio.

"It's been our opinion that up until recently, the real estate space has been at a premium and the rent market needed to cool down before we were going to be able to open a significant number of stores profitably," Fishman said.

"We're starting to see more opportunity to open new stores as the commercial real estate market has started to come back to us. Additionally, since we take secondary and tertiary locations, the number of store closings or bankruptcy proceedings you hear of from other retailers is starting to loosen up the availability of space."

Big Lots has the distribution infrastructure in place to support 1,800 stores, according to Fishman.

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