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Big Lots Updates Sales Expectations For 4Q

Big Lots Inc. has updated its sales expectations for the fourth fiscal quarter ending Jan. 30.

Based on sales results quarter-to-date and the closeout chain's forecast for the balance of the quarter, Big Lots now expects a comparable store sales increase in the range of 3.5% to 4.5% compared to its previous guidance of an increase of 1.5% to 2.5%, as relayed on Dec. 4.

Encouraged by a higher level of sales, 1,374-unit Big Lots now expects income from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 to be in the range of $1.19 to $1.24 per diluted share compared to the previous guidance of income from continuing operations of $1.09 to $1.14 per diluted share and last year's record fourth quarter performance of $1.00 per diluted share. Including the revised guidance for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, income from continuing operations —on a non-GAAP basis — for fiscal 2009 is now expected to be in the range of $2.25 to $2.30 per diluted share compared to fiscal 2008's record income from continuing operations of $1.89 per diluted share.

The retailer noted that all of its major merchandise categories produced positive comps on a quarter-to-date basis, with seasonal, home, furniture and hard lines, particularly the electronics department having been the best performers. Sales in the consumables category and the toys department are also above last year levels.

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