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Big Lots Getting Bigger

Big Lots Getting Bigger

Shopping Center Business reported that Big Lots, which offers an extensive assortment of brand-name products, including home furnishings, seasonal items, housewares, toys and gifts at closeout prices, is opening a “lot” more stores in 2011, continuing a big push in new store growth from last year.

Big Lots operates more than 1,400 retail stores serving 48 states, and is heavily concentrated in four states: Ohio, Florida, Texas and California. 

This year, Big Lots intends to open 90 stores throughout the country, focusing specifically on the Northeast and East Coast, as well as the Northwest and West Coast, with some stores sprinkled throughout the Midwest.

The stores themselves are, ideally, 20,000- to 30,000-square-foot facilities (although there are Big Lots stores from 15,000 to 60,000 square feet) in strip centers or freestanding stores on major traffic arteries, serving trade areas of 50,000 with a median income of $35,000 to $90,000.

The company has two different store concepts and aims to keep its stores clean and bright with well-stocked departments. Traditional stores are typically housed in secondary space, such as a former Walmart or grocery store. Then there are “A-store” locations, primarily in the best strip shopping centers in the market. Co-tenants in a traditional center will primarily be regional players, while the A-store co-tenants are usually retailers like Target, Best Buy and Old Navy.

So what makes Big Lots so attractive to landlords? “We are investment-grade credit and, to my knowledge, we’ve never missed a rent payment,” says Chuck Haubiel, vice president, legal and real estate for the company. “And in these days and times, I think that’s a very attractive thing.”

Shopping Center Business Article