) -- Close-out retailer

Big Lots

(BIG) - Get Report

remains relatively immune to the recession, as judged by its latest quarterly report

Specializing in the sale of excess inventory -- everything from televisions to vacuum cleaners -- has allowed Big Lots to earn $28.4 million, or 34 cents a share, compared with $26 million, or 32 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding items, Big Lots said its earnings came to 35 cents a share, surpassing analysts' forecast of 30 cents.

The company's management also forecast full-year earnings in the range of $1.92 to $2.02 a share. Analysts' consensus estimates had pegged Bit Lots' 2009 bottom line at $1.93 a share.

The news sent the company's shares soaring nearly 8% to $25.92 in late-morning trading Tuesday.

Still, Big Lots said second-quarter sales slipped about 2% to $1.09 billion, while same-store sales declined 2.4%, as demand for furniture and home decor remains weak.

Even discount rivals

Wal-Mart Stores

(WMT) - Get Report



(TGT) - Get Report

have seen some contraction in consumer spending.

Wal-Mart saw its second-quarter sales slip 1.4%


But basic home goods like paper towels, food and cleaning supplies are still necessities, and shoppers are seeking the lowest prices possible at stores such as Big Lots.

--Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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