FINANCE

Big Lots Reports Increased Sales and Improved Operations

BY CSA STAFF

Columbus, Ohio The worst of economic times can yield the best of times for value-priced retailers, especially when the retailer has also improved operational efficiencies.

On Tuesday, Big Lots reported increases in net sales, same-store sales and income. In the second quarter, the close-out retailer’s net sales were up 1.9% to $1.105 billion compared to $1.084 billion for the year-ago period. Same-store sales increased 2.8%, which was on top of an impressive 5.2% increase in same-store sales for the same quarter in fiscal 2007. Net income for the most recent quarter was $26 million vs. $23.4 million last year, and year-to-date net income topped $60 million vs. $52 million in the previous year.

Additionally, Big Lots realized a 30% improvement in operating profit for the second quarter: $43.5 million, or 3.9% of sales, vs. $33.4 million, or 3.1% of sales for the year-ago period.

Big Lots attributed the gains to the 2.8% increase in same-store sales, improved margins and expense control resulting primarily from efficiencies in operations at its stores and distribution center.

The company reported significant improvements in inventory management as well, ending the second quarter with a 2% reduction in inventory, $698 million vs. $714 million last year, which resulted largely from a 1% reduction in average store inventory and a 1% reduction in store count.

At the end of the second quarter, Big Lots had 1,355 stores in 47 states, down from 1,375 stores at the close of fiscal 2006. The company’s total revenues in fiscal 2007 were $4.656 billion.

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S&B Holdings to acquire Steve & Barry’s

BY CSA STAFF

PORT WASHINGTON Steve & Barry’s LLC announced that BHY S&B Holdings LLC, a newly formed affiliate of investment firms Bay Harbour Management and York Capital Management, has received Court approval to acquire to acquire substantially all assets of Steve & Barry’s. The acquisition is scheduled to be completed on Aug. 25.

Under the terms of the $163 million purchase agreement, the majority of Steve & Barry’s 276 stores will continue to serve customers nationwide. BHY S&B Holdings has made no decisions concerning which Steve & Barry’s stores will close or when, although an announcement is anticipated in the next week, the company reported.

In addition to acquiring merchandise inventories and transfer rights to Steve & Barry’s store leases, BHY S&B Holdings will acquire all Steve & Barry’s intellectual property rights, including its celebrity and brand licenses, and the company’s key facilities, including its Port Washington, New York headquarters, Columbus, Ohio distribution center, and certain overseas offices.

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AAFES commander Thurgood promoted to Major General

BY CSA STAFF

DALLAS AAFES commander Brigadier General Keith Thurgood was promoted to Maj. Gen. on Thursday, Aug. 14 in the boardroom at AAFES headquarters.

In his civilian occupation, General Thurgood serves as the director of strategy and innovation for PepsiCo, INC in financial, supply chain, logistics and systems development roles. He is responsible for the development of supply chain and logistics strategies across a 30 billion dollar enterprise.

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