Shares of Big Lots went into free-fall Friday when the deep-discount retailer posted third-quarter earnings of $4.2 million (6 cents per share), compared to year-ago earnings of $17.7 million (23 cents).
Blame for the weakness rests with Liquidation World, the Canadian competitor Big Lots acquired in July. Canadian operations posted a loss of $6.9 million – which really shouldn’t have stunned the market, since Big Lots had said the hit was coming.
Net sales for U.S. operations were up 5.8 percent to $1,12 billion, versus $1.06 billion in the third quarter of 2010, and same-store sales in the U.S. increased 1.7 percent. Nonetheless, profits from U.S. operations totaled just $15.8 million, below last year’s $26.9 million.
Share prices were down more than 8 percent just before the end trading Friday.
Big Lots operates 1,445 stores in the United States including one in Canyon Country, and 85 outlets in Canada.