Big Lots' fiscal Q4 sales grew 7.7% year-over-year to US$1.62B as comparable-store sales increased 3.4%, exceeding 1%-2% guidance; company raises Q4 earnings guidance to reflect 17%-19% gain over Q4 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio , February 2, 2012 () – Big Lots, Inc. (NYSE: BIG - News) is reporting retail sales for U.S. operations for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2011 ended January 28, 2012 of $1,622.9 million, an increase of 7.7% compared to $1,507.1 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. Comparable store sales, for stores open in the United States for at least two years at the beginning of the fiscal year, increased 3.4% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. These results exceeded our guidance which called for a 1% to 2% increase in comparable store sales.

Consistent with prior reporting practices, fourth quarter sales for the Canadian and Wholesale operations will be announced along with fourth quarter financial results on Thursday, March 1, 2012.

Commenting on sales for the quarter, Steve Fishman, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President stated, "I'm pleased with our fourth quarter sales results and the improving trends we have experienced throughout the year. For the all-important holiday selling season, we believe our strategy was very well executed and our decision to be aggressive in certain key categories was successful. From a merchandise perspective, seasonal and furniture each comped up low double digits and consumables comped up mid single digits. Additionally, our planned shift to more electronics merchandise while downsizing toys was well received by our customers."

Based on the U.S. sales results and lower than expected losses in our Canadian business, we are raising our consolidated fourth quarter earnings guidance to $1.71 - $1.74 per diluted share. This represents a 17% to 19% improvement over fourth quarter 2010 earnings of $1.46 per diluted share. Our revised guidance compares to prior guidance of $1.59 - $1.66 per diluted share.

For the fifty-two week fiscal 2011, retail sales from U.S. operations totaled $5,093.4 million, an increase of 3.9% compared to $4,900.6 million for the same period in fiscal 2010. Comparable store sales increased 0.1% for fiscal 2011.

Consistent with our increased fourth quarter expectations, we now expect earnings of $2.94 - $2.97 per diluted share from continuing operations for fiscal 2011, a 4% to 5% improvement over fiscal 2010 earnings of $2.83 per diluted share.

Big Lots is North America's largest broadline closeout retailer. As of January 28, 2012, we operated 1,451 BIG LOTS stores in the 48 contiguous United States and 82 LIQUIDATION WORLD and LW stores in Canada. Wholesale operations are conducted through BIG LOTS WHOLESALE, CONSOLIDATED INTERNATIONAL, and WISCONSIN TOY and with online sales at www.biglotswholesale.com.

Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements in this release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and such statements are intended to qualify for the protection of the safe harbor provided by the Act. The words "anticipate," "estimate," "expect," "objective," "goal," "project," "intend," "plan," "believe," "will," "should," "may," "target," "forecast," "guidance," "outlook" and similar expressions generally identify forward-looking statements. Similarly, descriptions of our objectives, strategies, plans, goals or targets are also forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to the expectations of management as to future occurrences and trends, including statements expressing optimism or pessimism about future operating results or events and projected sales, earnings, capital expenditures and business strategy. Forward-looking statements are based upon a number of assumptions concerning future conditions that may ultimately prove to be inaccurate. Forward-looking statements are and will be based upon management's then-current views and assumptions regarding future events and operating performance, and are applicable only as of the dates of such statements. Although we believe the expectations expressed in forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of our knowledge, forward-looking statements, by their nature, involve risks, uncertainties and other factors, any one or a combination of which could materially affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or liquidity.

Forward-looking statements that we make herein and in other reports and releases are not guarantees of future performance and actual results may differ materially from those discussed in such forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, the current economic and credit crisis, the cost of goods, our inability to successfully execute strategic initiatives, competitive pressures, economic pressures on our customers and us, the availability of brand name closeout merchandise, trade restrictions, freight costs, the risks discussed in the Risk Factors section of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, and other factors discussed from time to time in our other filings with the SEC, including Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. This release should be read in conjunction with such filings, and you should consider all of these risks, uncertainties and other factors carefully in evaluating forward-looking statements.

You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date thereof. We undertake no obligation to publicly update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You are advised, however, to consult any further disclosures we make on related subjects in our public announcements and SEC filings.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.