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Big Lots Beats Forecasts on Strong Comparable Sales

Big Lots reports higher-than-expected earnings on the biggest comparable-sales increase in its history.

Big Lots  (BIG) - Get Big Lots, Inc. Report beat Wall Street's fiscal-second-quarter earnings expectations as sales surged both online and in stores.

Shares of the Columbus, Ohio, retailer at last check were off 1.3% at $55.

For the quarter ended Aug. 1 Big Lots reported net income of $452 million, or $11.29 a share, up from $6.2 million, or 16 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter.

On an adjusted basis, the company's profit was $2.75 a share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast adjusted profit of $2.70 a share.

Sales totaled $1.64 billion, up from $1.25 billion a year earlier and ahead of FactSet's forecast of $1.61 billion. Comparable sales increased 31.1%.

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"Our [comparable] increase was the best in the company's history, and adjusted EPS was the most we've reported in a second quarter, and more than five times what we reported a year ago," Bruce Thorn, president and CEO, said in a statement. 

"[Comparable] sales were driven by strong results both in-store, where traffic and basket were each up double digits, and on-line, which drove almost five comparable points, and where we acquired more new customers than in any prior quarter."

The Big Lots board authorized management to buy back as much as $500 million of common shares.

Inventory ended at $714 million compared with $874 million a year earlier. The 18% decrease resulted from strong sales results in all merchandise categories and a slightly lower store count year-over-year.

Big Lots withdrew its full year guidance in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it expected to provide a business update at the end of September "when it has greater visibility on expected results for the current quarter."