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Big Lots Profit Slips in First Quarter

COLUMBUS, OHIO - The home department produced comps in the low single-digit rate at Big Lots during the fist quarter, going up against a strong same-store sales performance in the year-ago period.
     The off-pricer's net income from continuing operations for the period ended April 30 was $52.5 million, or 70 cents per share, down 6.25%. The company's gross margin rate contracted by 30 basis points ask consumers pivoted toward lower-margin consumables and Big Lots experienced higher freight costs.
     Sales were flattish - down 0.6% to $1.2 billion - with comps down 3.6%.
     Chairman and ceo Steve Fishman said of the home department: "We can execute better and we believe this could be one of the better growth opportunities for us."