said Wednesday it expects third-quarter profit to be at the low end of its forecasts, despite a jump in September sales.
For September, the company posted a 5.2% rise in sales at stores open at least two years, while total sales rose 10% to $347.6 million from the year-ago period. But Big Lots said sales of low-margin products have been widely surpassing those of high-margin items, hurting profitability.
The retailer now expects third-quarter operating results to fall at the low end of its estimates, which ranged from of a loss of 3 cents a share to a profit of 1 cent a share. On average, analysts forecast a loss of 1 cent per share for the company and total revenue of $944 million.
In the third quarter of 2002, Big Lots posted a loss of $5.1 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $868.2 million.
The company still expects to meet estimates for the fourth quarter.
Shares were lower in late-afternoon trading Wednesday, losing $1.07, or 6.5%, to $15.32.