Big Lots Inc. Big Lots Inc. is not your everyday retail store such as Wal-Mart or K Mart. Big Lots, Inc.

is the largest broad line closeout retailer in the nation. Big Lots' theme is "Brand names at closeout prices!" This motto is the foundation of what the company is built upon. More than 3, 000 manufacturers provide the company's stores with brand-name products at prices 20-40% below traditional discount retailers. Big Lots meets the needs of customers by providing an assortment of merchandise, including consumables, seasonal products, furniture, housewares, toys, and gifts. Big Lots was established in 1982 through Consolidated Stores Corporation. The stores name was called Odd Lots which made its debut in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1985, the company made its initial offering on the American Stock Exchange. At this time Big Lots was first launched. Thanks to their buyers, managers, associates, and other supporters, the company celebrated its first billion dollar year in 1993. In 1994, the company acquired Toy Liquidators which added 82 stores in 38 states. Two years later Consolidated Stores Corporation doubled its size and sales with the purchase of KB Toys. Big Lots Furniture became one of the fastest-growing furniture retailers after it began with 9 freestanding stores and 53 in-store departments in 1997.

After gaining shareholder approval, Consolidated Stores Corporation changes its name to Big Lots, Inc. in 2001. After re branding was complete in 2002, the company made many improvements in the Big Lots shopping experience, including updated, attractive stores and even better customer service. The changes bring record-setting increases in customer transactions. Most closeout retailers rely on the distribution of weekly or monthly circulars to inform customers of the latest deals.

Big Lots uses targeted mixtures of circulars to drive immediate customer traffic along with network television advertising to build awareness with consumers. In 2003, launched it's first-ever $50 million television advertising campaign. Commercials can be seen all over daytime and nighttime television. With a host of different types of products to market, Jerry Van Dyke plays the lead role in promoting the company's products. Consumers also receive a weekly sales promotion in the mail that brings to life what Big Lots has to offer in its "Here today, gone tomorrow" deals. Advertisement strategies have the potential to make or break a company.

Fortunately, the company seems to be moving in the right direction. Location on the other hand is also a key factor in a company's success. Many are located in strip malls or freestanding locations. The consumer's awareness of location is important to the growth. For example, Store 1563 is located on Woodward Avenue in Muscle Shoals. Many successful businesses are located within blocks of the store.

Unfortunately, you will find that Big Lots is set far back off of the road and is blocked by a restaurant, strip mall, and dollar store. Many shoppers have lived in the area for years but never noticed the store due to its hidden location. Many of the store's employees believe it has potential for greater success given it had a better location. Closeout is the most unique segment of retailing.

They are the same first-quality, brand-name products found at other retailers. By offering merchandise at 20-40% below traditional discount retailers, Big Lots has annual revenues exceeding $4 billion. Many times you will find products at Big Lots to be up to 70% below retail prices. Merchandise comes to Big Lots from manufacturers who need to reduce inventory as a result of overstock, package changes, cancelled orders, discontinuations, or product testing. These products are offered at a highly discounted rate. Stores are located across the country in cities large and small.

They range from 20, 000-60, 000 square feet and have an annual per-store sales averaging $2. 9 million. Michael Potter serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Big Lots, Inc. Potter joined the company in 1991 as vice president and controller. He quickly rose to become the senior vice president and chief financial officer in 1994. He was promoted to executive vice president in 1998.

At age 38, he became one of the country's youngest Fortune 500 leaders when he became CEO in June 2000. Potter has two decades of retail and financial expertise. He oversees the vision for the company's long-term growth which includes a commitment to the customer and a focus on the business of closeout retailing. On an individual store level, management is set up using a basic structure. There is a general manager and two assistant managers who work on a salary basis.

There is an associate manager who works on an hourly basis and serves as bookkeeper. A customer service specialist also servers on an hourly basis. There are sales associates and cashiers who usually work part time or seasonally. Stores with a furniture department have all hourly employees. There is a sales manager and an assistant manager who both work full time hours.

There are at least two part time sales associates depending on the size and needs of the individual department. The closeout and furniture departments each have their proper number of hours and positions that must be filled. The employees in each department are trained specifically for the needs of that department. Price, selection, and shopping excitement make Big Lots America's largest broad line closeout retailer.

The fun is catching on with consumers from every walk of life. The company is looking forward to adding 500 stores over the next five years. In the meantime the more than 1, 400 stores will continue to offer brand-name products and the lowest comparable prices.