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Big Lots Management Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Our consolidated financials include results from our U.S. operations and from our Canadian business that was acquired on July 18, 2011. Our statements also include immaterial amounts of discontinued operations activity. All commentary today is focused on adjusted non-GAAP results from continuing operations, that is excluding the nonrecurring, noncash, after-tax charge of $3.4 million or $0.05 per diluted share mentioned in today's press release. As a reminder, this charge relates to our previously announced change in accounting principle related to inventory valuation and was the direct result of our successful go live of a new merchandising system at the beginning of the fiscal year. A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP adjusted earnings is available on today's press release.

Given our Annual Meeting of Shareholders begins at 9:00 a.m., our comments will be brief to allow for Q&A to be completed by 8:45. With that, I will turn it over to TJ.

Timothy A. Johnson

Thanks, Andy, and good morning, everyone. I'm going to briefly cover Q1 results and then turn it over to Joe to update you on our progress in Canada and also to speak to our forward guidance. After Joe, Steve will finish with his perspective on results and our merchandising efforts going forward.

Sales for U.S. operations were $1.262 billion, an increase of 2.8% compared to the $1.227 billion we reported for the first quarter of last year. Comparable store sales for stores opened at least 15 months decreased 0.8%, which was below our original guidance of 2% to 4% increase.

Comp trends to plan varied widely during the quarter. For the first half of the quarter, comps were positive, and sales dollars were essentially on plan. In the last half of the quarter, we expected to see higher comps against the softer comparison from Q1 of 2011. This trend did not unfold, and comps were actually down to the prior year.

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