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Big Lots, Inc. ( ) is a Fortune 500 retail corporation with annual revenues well over $4 billion. Its department stores focus mainly on selling closeout and overstock merchandise. The company is based in Columbus, Ohiomarker, USAmarker and currently operates over 1,400 stores in 47 states.
Big Lots store
A typical store sells a wide variety of merchandise, including toys, furniture, clothing, housewares, and small electronics. Most of the items sold in these stores are purchased as they become available. What is in the store one day may not be there the next, and the store may not get further shipments of those particular items. Most of the merchandise in the stores are closeouts and overstocks. However there are some items in the stores, such as foodstuffs, that are replenished on a continual basis.

In many cases, Big Lots uses an existing building, such as a grocery or department store that had either moved or ceased operations.


The Big Lots chain traces its history back to 1967, when Consolidated Stores Corporation was formed in Ohiomarker by Sol Shenk. In 1982, Consolidated Stores Corp. opened its first closeout store, called Odd Lots, in Columbus, Ohio. In 1983, drug store chain Revco bought Consolidated Stores Corp. to prevent a hostile takeover of Revco. However, Revco soon lost focus on its core drug store operations and earnings tumbled, forcing Revco to jettison Consolidated Stores Corp. In 1985, Consolidated Stores Corp. began trading as a separate public company on the American Stock Exchange. Also in 1985, the first Big Lots store was introduced. In 1986, Consolidated Stores Corp. switched to the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol CNS.

Consolidated Stores Corp. was an investor in the De Lorean Motor Company, which declared bankruptcy in 1982. Consolidated took possession of approximately 100 De Lorean DMC-12 models, then still at the factory in Northern Irelandmarker, when the US importer was unable to import them. This unusual excess inventory acquisition is commemorated on the Big Lots web site's "Closeout Museum" page. [88813]

In 1994, Consolidated Stores Corp. acquired Toy Liquidators, adding 82 stores in 38 states. Looking to expand further into the toys business, Consolidated Stores Corp. purchased KB Toys from Melville Corporation in 1996. In 2000, Consolidated Stores Corp. sold the KB Toys and Toy Liquidators lines to private equity shops. A year later, the company decided to focus on the Big Lots brand, and on May 16, 2001, Consolidated Stores Corp. changed its name to Big Lots, Inc. and its ticker symbol from CNS to BLI. (The NYSE ticker symbol CNS is currently used by Cohen & Steers, Inc.). By the end of 2002, Big Lots Inc. completed a nationwide conversion to the single Big Lots brand. In recent times, Big Lots has expanded by opening hundreds of new stores.

In the later part of 2005, Big Lots closed 170 stores, including all free-standing Big Lots Furniture specialty stores. Most Big Lots stores have furniture departments which sell upholstered furniture (sofas, love seats, and recliners), Serta mattresses, fully assembled and ready to assemble furniture. Some, primarily smaller, stores only carry a limited assortment of mattresses and ready to assemble furniture.

On August 3, 2006, Big Lots announced it would change its New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol from BLI to BIG, beginning with trading activity on August 18, 2006.

Buzz Club

The Buzz Club is Big Lots's customer royalty program. The Buzz Club offers its members exclusive deals and discounts. The website features the "Deal of the Day" which is one featured item made available to purchase online, usually only that day. The item is unique in that it is not available in stores. This is a limited online store and merchandise in the stores cannot be ordered online. Members also get advance notice of advertisements prior to their release to the general public through the mail or newspaper.

Big Lots Wholesale

Big Lots also operates a wholesale division which provides merchandise in bulk for resale from a variety of categories. This is a separate division of Big Lots and does not carry the same merchandise found in the retail stores. Big Lots Wholesale also attends trade shows and has permanent showrooms in Columbus, Ohio; New York; and the Boston and Chicago areas.

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