Big Lots' fiscal Q1 comparable store sales forecast to fall short of 2%-4% increase projected previously, company says; Canadian retail sales expected to beat expectations, be in US$25M-US$30M range

COLUMBUS, Ohio , April 23, 2012 (press release) – Big Lots, Inc. today updated guidance for retail sales for the first fiscal quarter ending April 28, 2012.

Based on retail sales results quarter-to-date and assumptions for the balance of the first quarter of fiscal 2012, we now expect U.S. comparable store sales to be slightly negative compared to our prior guidance issued on March 2, 2012, which estimated a comparable store sales increase of 2% to 4%. U.S. comparable store sales were on plan through the first six weeks of the quarter; however, sales compared to plan began to slow in late March and trends have further softened as we moved through the month of April. From a merchandising perspective, furniture, hardlines, and seasonal, particularly lawn and garden, have been our best performing businesses; whereas, consumables and play n' wear, particularly electronics, are currently below expectations for the quarter.

In terms of our recently acquired Canadian operations, based on results quarter-to-date, we anticipate retail sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 will be slightly above our guidance which estimated sales in the range of $25 to $30 million.

On Wednesday, May 23, 2012, we will release our first quarter sales and earnings results and discuss our outlook for the second quarter and the balance of fiscal 2012.

Big Lots is North America's largest broadline closeout retailer. The company currently operates 1,454 BIG LOTS stores in the 48 contiguous United States and 82 LIQUIDATION WORLD and LW stores in Canada.

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