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Big Box Discount Retailer

Big Lots Stores, with the signage outside its locations written as “Big Lots!”, is an American discount retail chain selling a variety of products. The company’s wide array of merchandise includes everything from furniture, mattresses, home essentials, appliances, and much more. The company sells at its over 1400 retail locations but also operates an extensive online store. Big Lots is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, and the shares of the company trade on the NYSE.


The company traces its roots back to 1967 when Sol Shenk founded the Consolidated Stores Corporation in Columbus, Ohio. Sol Shenk, an entrepreneur with a keen eye for closeout deals, believed in the idea of selling products at discounted prices by procuring overruns, packaging changes, and liquidated items. The business model revolved around purchasing merchandise at lower costs and passing the savings on to customers. This strategy proved effective and by 1982, Consolidated Stores Corporation opened its first closeout store named "Odd Lots" in Columbus. However, to avoid conflicts with another retail chain that was similarly named, stores outside of Columbus were branded as Big Lots starting in 1985.

The Merchandise

Big Lots is an American retail company that operates discount retail stores. With a presence spanning multiple states, Big Lots offer an array of merchandise, often procured through closeouts, overstocks, and wholesale liquidations. Their product assortment is vast and varied, catering to a wide range of consumer needs. Among the product categories available at Big Lots, customers can find furniture, housewares, small electronics, toys, food items, and seasonal goods. Additionally, the stores stock health and beauty products, home décor, and everyday consumable items. One of the key attributes of Big Lots is the ever-changing assortment of goods, as the nature of their purchasing model means that the inventory can vary considerably from week to week and store to store.

The Retail Locations

Big Lots operates numerous retail locations across the United States. These stores are typically found in shopping plazas, standalone buildings, and sometimes in suburban areas. Their stores tend to be vast in both size and inventory, mirroring other big box retailers like Walmart, Target, and Floor and Decor.