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Big Lots Reaffirms Home Trade-up

Speaking at the Merrill Lynch 30th Annual Retailing Leaders Conference last week, Big Lots chairman and ceo Steve Fishman emphasized that the $4.7 billion closeout retailer is shifting toward better home textiles offerings: "We want 400 count sheets at $30 instead of 200 count sheets at $20; we want great comforters in $40 sets — we don't need $9.99 or $19.99 comforter sets," Fishman said.

The home division — which includes domestics, home décor, tabletop, food prep, and a strong and growing furniture business — accounts for about 30% of sales at the chain, said Fishman, who earlier this month said company research indicates consumers are ready for the chain to offer a better level of home goods. Soft home makes up roughly one third of that volume, according to Home Textiles Today research, which pegged Big Lots' home textiles sales volume at $402.0 million for 2005.

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