The Columbus, Ohio, company earned $23.4 million, or 22 cents a share, for the quarter, up from $4.3 million, or 4 cents a share, a year earlier.
Earnings from continuing operations were 21 cents a share, well above analysts' average estimate of 12 cents. The company's own guidance in May called for a profit of 7 cents to 10 cents a share.
Big Lots' sales edged up to $1.08 billion from $1.06 billion a year earlier. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, climbed 5.2%.
The stronger profit was helped by the same-store sales jump, as well as lower operating expenses from items such as distribution-center costs, insurance and advertising spending.
For the third quarter, Big Lots forecast earnings of 9 cents to 13 cents a share, in line with analysts' target of 12 cents. The company sees fourth-quarter earnings of 87 cents to 92 cents a share, compared with Wall Street's 84-cent projection.
Those profits should yield full-year earnings from continuing operations of $1.43 to $1.48 a share, Big Lots said. The company previously projected fiscal-year earnings of $1.25 to $1.30 a share; analysts had forecast a profit of $1.34 a share.
Shares of Big Lots were up $2.05, or 7.8%, to $28.35 in recent trading.