Big Lots closing wholesale business; employees to be placed in retail 'when possible'


November 1, 2013

Big Lots is narrowing its focus to its retail operations and will close its wholesale business by the end of 2013, the company announced this morning.

During the 90-day wind down period, the wholesale business will liquidate its inventory and employees will be shifted into Big Lots’ retail operations “where and when possible,” the company said.

The Columbus-based closeout retailer has conducted wholesale operations through Big Lots Wholesale, Consolidated International and Wisconsin Toy.

Big Lots will take a pretax charge of $5 million to $8 million during the third quarter to account for the action.

Closing the wholesale side of the business was “not a decision we take lightly, as a number of associates who have been dedicated and worked very hard in an effort to grow the wholesale business will be impacted,” said David Campisi, CEO and president, in a statement.

However, the wholesale business has changed over the years, Campisi said, becoming “ increasingly more competitive, and the sales and margin growth opportunities are not what they once were. We believe a narrower focus and investing in new ways to enhance our relationship with the customer will provide greater value for our shareholders over the longer term."

With the elimination of the wholesale operation, Big Lots will continue to focus on several new initiatives in its retail operations, Campisi said, such as the expansion of its cooler and freezer program, the introduction of furniture financing, and a renewed effort in e-commerce.