Open main menu

Big Lots!, Inc. is an American retail company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio with over 1,400 stores in 47 states.[3]

Big Lots!, Inc.
Consolidated Stores Corp.
Traded as
FoundedAs Consolidated Stores Corp.: December 13, 1967; 51 years ago (1967-12-13)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
  • Sol A. Shenk
Number of locations
1,416 (2018)
Area served
ProductsFood and Beverage, toys, furniture, clothing, housewares, small electronics
RevenueIncrease US$5.19 billion (FY 2016)[1]
Increase US$235.7 million (FY 2016)[1]
Increase US$142.87 million (FY 2016)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$1.64 billion (FY 2016)
Number of employees
22,900[2] (2018)
SubsidiariesLW Stores (defunct)



Big Lots Store No. 1, Berwick Plaza Shopping Center, Columbus, Ohio (Before and after); The first store in the Big Lots chain was located in the former Kroger store in the same shopping center. The store was later relocated to the former Buckeye Mart/Sarco building also pictured.

The Big Lots chain traces its history back to 1967 when Consolidated Stores Corporation was formed in Ohio 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 New Jersey closeout retailer Odd Lot Trading Co. As Consolidated's Odd Lots stores expanded from Columbus, Revco took issue with the fact that another closeout retailer was operating a chain with national aspirations that had a similar name as the Revco-owned subsidiary. Consolidated Stores Corp. agreed to limit their use of the Odd Lots name to stores located within a certain radius of Columbus. Beyond the radius, Consolidated began opening stores under the Big Lots name. Eventually, all Odd Lots stores were rebranded as Big Lots. In 1985, Consolidated Stores Corp. began trading as a separate public company on the American Stock Exchange. In 1986, Consolidated Stores Corp. switched to the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol CNS.[4]

Consolidated Stores Corp. was an investor in the DeLorean Motor Company, which declared bankruptcy in 1982. Consolidated took possession of approximately 100 DeLorean models, then still at the factory in Northern Ireland, when the U.S. importer was unable to import them. This unusual excess inventory acquisition is commemorated on the Big Lots website's "Closeout Museum" page.[5]

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 1997, Big Lots Inc. bought out 'MacFrugals' (Pic 'N' Save) stores for $995 million in stock, eventually converting those to the Big Lots brand. 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. By the end of 2002, Big Lots Inc. completed a nationwide conversion to the single Big Lots brand. On November 19, 2010, Big Lots opened 17 new stores bringing its total to over 1,400 stores.[6] Recently,[when?] Big Lots has expanded by opening hundreds of new stores.[7]

In the later part of 2005, Big Lots closed 170 stores, including all free-standing Big Lots Furniture specialty stores.[8] 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.[9]

Big Lots WholesaleEdit

Big Lots operated a wholesale division which provided merchandise in bulk for resale from a variety of categories. This was a separate division of Big Lots and did not carry the same merchandise found in the retail stores. Big Lots Wholesale also attended trade shows and had permanent showrooms in Columbus, New York City; and the Boston and Chicago areas.

Big Lots closed its wholesale division at the end of the 2013 Fiscal Year. The Columbus-based closeout retailer had conducted wholesale operations through Big Lots Wholesale, Consolidated International and Wisconsin Toy for more than 34 years.[10]

Big Lots CanadaEdit

On July 19, 2011, Big Lots announced that it had purchased Liquidation World Inc., a Canadian closeout retailer with 89 locations. The cost of the acquisition was $20 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities. This represents Big Lots first retail venture outside of the US. The first Big Lots location opened in April 2013 in Orillia, Ontario followed by Burlington, Ontario, Niagara Falls, Ontario, St. Catharines, Ontario and Thunder Bay, Ontario.

On December 5, 2013, Big Lots announced that it will exit the Canadian marketplace citing poor sales. All stores were shut down by February 2014. The company expected to post a loss from the Canadian operations in the fourth quarter of $38 million to $43 million, mostly on severance, leases and asset writedowns. It expected to lose another $44 million to $47 million in the first quarter next year.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Big Lots 2013 Annual Report" (PDF). Big Lots, Inc. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Big Lots". Fortune. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  3. ^ "About Us - Big Lots". Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  4. ^ "Big Lots: History". Big Lots. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Big Lots - Retail". 2006-10-16. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  6. ^ "Big Lots Application | Careers, Benefts & Employment". EApplicants. 2014-10-17. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  7. ^ "Big Lots Introduces New Name To Pic 'N' Save Customers" (PDF). Big Lots: News Center. Big Lots, Inc. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Big Lots closing up to 170 stores". Milwaukee Business Journal. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  9. ^ "SEC 10k Filing" (PDF). 2006 Annual Report. Part III (Part 3): 14. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  10. ^ Feran, Tim (11 November 2013). "Big Lots to shut down wholesale division". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  11. ^ Buchanan, Doug (5 December 2013). "Big Lots getting back out of Canada". Columbus Business First. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 25 October 2014.

External linksEdit