Why Big Lots Shares Got Crushed

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Big Lots (NYS: BIG) plummeted 20% on Tuesday after the discount retailer slashed its quarterly same-stores outlook.

So what: The stock had been rallying nicely over the past year on steadily improving sales of consumables, but today's warning is forcing Mr. Market to quickly sober up. While sales of electronics have been the biggest disappointment, sales of food and clothing have also been weak, reigniting worries over Big Lots' ability to compete with gorillas Wal-Mart and Costco.

Now what: For the first quarter, management expects its same-store sales to be slightly negative, versus its previous view of a 2%-4% increase. However, with several analysts expecting management to turn things around over the next couple of quarters, today's pullback seems like a decent opportunity for some relatively quick gains. Of course, for more conservative buy-and-hold types, Big Lots' competitive position remains just too weak to take a long-term position on.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Wal-Mart and Costco. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Wal-Mart and Costco, as well as creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.

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