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‘Underperforming’ department store announces closures across US

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A POPULAR chain of stores is reportedly closing multiple locations across the country, with executives noting performance issues.

In early December, Big Lots officials indicated they would be closing stores in the United States to boost the company’s revenue, Best Life reported.

Big Lots would close several sites in the United States after a bad fiscal quarterCredit: Instagram

Big Lots executive vice president Jonathan Ramsden explained the situation to his peers during a Dec. 1 earnings call.

“Closures this year will end up being a bit higher than openings,” he said.

“Going forward, we hope and expect to return to a normalized level of closures, but we will certainly continue to monitor underperforming stores closely.”

According to Big Lots President and CEO Bruce Thorn, the closures have everything to do with inflation.

Thorn said inflation had affected the store’s customers’ “discretionary spending”, especially for higher-priced items.

As such, Big Lots suffered huge performance issues this quarter.

Net sales would have fallen about 9.8% and the company’s total losses would have been about $87 million per Thorn.

In the prior quarter, losses were only about $4 million.

This is probably a shock to customers, especially after Big Lots was announced a year ago in January 2022.

As The US Sun previously reported, Big Lots’ vision was originally the opposite, as they had detailed plans to open approximately 500 new stores over several years across America.

For 2022, the plan would have been to open 50 new sites within the year, with another 80 planned for 2023.

This “store intervention program” was designed to reduce closures.

Now things are different, but Ramsden noted on the December earnings call that the plan remains to open new Big Lots locations.

The company was on its way to the 50 new locations promised at the end of last December, but 2023 will bring fewer store openings than that.

“We are continuing to grow stores, albeit at a slower pace. We currently anticipate fewer stores than we see in previous releases,” Ramsden said on the call.

He continued that the current “economic times” are definitely hampering the expected growth.

They have since adjusted their strategy to focus on opening stores in rural areas because business costs there are low and the locations offer less competition.

“These typically generate more cash and profitability than city stores,” Thorn noted.

“As we reflect on our real estate strategy for store openings and closings going forward, we see an opportunity to further reshape our store portfolio towards these rural and small town markets with a focus on furniture and household items.

CLOSURES IN CALIFORNIA

In Sacramento, Calif., a Big Lots location in the Citrus Heights neighborhood will close this month, according to CBS News.

Todd Chapman, a local shopper at the store, told the news station that an employee explained there were numerous thefts.

“She said the theft is just out of control. People are filling up their shopping carts and running out of the store,” Chapman said.

“And there’s nothing they can do about it,” he continued.

Two other Big Lots stores in California – the Dublin site as well as the Ridgecrest outlet – are also said to be closing, according to Footwear News.

For related content, check out The US Sun’s coverage of a legendary retailer closing more than 100 stores in the new year.

The US Sun also has the story of what some call the “retail apocalypse,” with many popular US stores suffering losses.

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