Why Big Lots, Inc. Shares Plunged

Why Big Lots, Inc. Shares Plunged

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, Inc. sank 13% today after the closeout retailer posted disappointing quarterly results and announced plans to exit the Canadian market.

So what: The stock has slumped in recent years on sluggish sales, and today's third-quarter results -- a loss of $9.5 million on a sales increase of just 1.6% -- coupled with management's decision to close its Canadian stores, suggest that things aren't turning around anytime soon. Big Lots said that it couldn't gain the necessary traction in Canada to justify further capital investments, but with U.S. same-store sales also in decline, analysts are being forced to lower their growth expectations yet again.

Now what: Management now expects adjusted fourth-quarter EPS -- which includes the loss from the exited Canada operations -- of $0.65 to $0.90, well below the Wall Street consensus of $2.11. "Our new management team remains focused on identifying the best opportunities in the U.S. to serve our target customer in a manner that brings value to our customers, shareholders and associates," the company reassured investors in a statement. "These bold steps forward all possess the singularly focused goal of strengthening the Big Lots brand and reinvigorating our U.S. business." But while Big Lots might be set up for some solid short-term savings, increasingly intense competitive pressure -- from both brick-and-mortar behemoths and online disruptors -- makes the long-term story far more uncertain.

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