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BIG > SEC Filings for BIG > Form 10-K on 2-Apr-2013All Recent SEC Filings

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Form 10-K for BIG LOTS INC


Annual Report

Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations


The discussion and analysis presented below should be read in conjunction with the accompanying consolidated financial statements and related notes. Please refer to "Item 1A. Risk Factors" of this Form 10-K for a discussion of forward-looking statements and certain risk factors that may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and/or liquidity.

Our fiscal year ends on the Saturday nearest to January 31, which results in some fiscal years with 52 weeks and some with 53 weeks. Fiscal year 2012 was comprised of 53 weeks. Fiscal years 2011 and 2010 were each comprised of 52 weeks. Fiscal year 2013 will be comprised of 52 weeks.

Operating Results Summary

The following are the results from 2012 that we believe are key indicators of both our consolidated and segment operating performance when compared to 2011.

Consolidated Highlights
Net sales increased $197.9 million, or 3.8%.

Diluted earnings per common share from continuing operations decreased from $2.99 in 2011 to $2.93 in 2012, which included the impact of a non-cash, non-recurring charge of $0.06 per diluted share related to a change in accounting principle associated with the implementation of our new retail inventory systems in the U.S.

Inventory increased by 11.2%, or $92.8 million, to $918.0 million in 2012.

We acquired 8.1 million of our outstanding common shares for $298.5 million, which exhausted the authorizations under both the 2011 Repurchase Program and the 2012 Repurchase Program.

U.S. Segment Highlights
Net sales increased $105.1 million or 2.0%.

Comparable store sales for stores open at least fifteen months decreased 2.7%.

Gross margin dollars increased $14.0 million, while gross margin rate decreased 50 basis points from 39.8% to 39.3% of sales.

Selling and administrative expenses increased $44.8 million. As a percentage of net sales, selling and administrative expenses increased 30 basis points to 31.4% of sales.

Operating profit rate decreased 100 basis points to 6.0%, or $45.7 million.

Canadian Segment Highlights
Net sales increased $92.7 million to $154.8 million compared to 2011 net sales of $62.1 million, which covered the period from the date of acquisition (July 18, 2011) through the year end.

Operating loss rate decreased to 8.8% in 2012 compared to 19.7% in 2011.

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The following table compares components of our consolidated statements of operations as a percentage of net sales:

                                                   2012          2011          2010
Net sales                                           100.0  %      100.0  %      100.0  %
Cost of sales (exclusive of depreciation
expense shown separately below)                      60.8          60.2          59.4
Gross margin                                         39.2          39.8          40.6
Selling and administrative expenses                  31.7          31.4          31.8
Depreciation expense                                  2.0           1.7           1.6
Operating profit                                      5.5           6.6           7.2
Interest expense                                     (0.1 )        (0.1 )        (0.1 )
Other income (expense)                                0.0          (0.0 )         0.0
Income from continuing operations before
income taxes                                          5.5           6.6           7.2
Income tax expense                                    2.2           2.6           2.7
Income from continuing operations                     3.3           4.0           4.5
Loss from discontinued operations, net of tax        (0.0 )        (0.0 )        (0.0 )
Net income                                            3.3  %        4.0  %        4.5  %

See the discussion below under the captions "2012 Compared To 2011" and "2011 Compared To 2010" for additional details regarding the specific components of our operating results.

In 2012, the cost of sales increase included a charge of $5.6 million (0.1% of net sales) due to a change in accounting principle resulting from our successful implementation of new retail inventory management systems. This non-cash charge reduced both income from continuing operations and net income by $3.4 million, or 190 basis points. Please see note 1 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for a more detailed discussion regarding this change in accounting principle.


As discussed in "Item 1. Business - Seasonality" of this Form 10-K, our financial results fluctuate from quarter to quarter depending on various factors such as timing of new or closed stores, timing and extent of advertisements and promotions, and timing of holidays. We expect the Christmas holiday selling season to continue to produce a significant portion of our sales and operating profits. If our sales performance is significantly better or worse during the Christmas holiday selling season, we would expect a more pronounced impact on our annual financial results than if our sales performance is significantly better or worse in a different season.

The following table sets forth the seasonality of net sales and operating profit for 2012, 2011, and 2010 by fiscal quarter:

                                                First    Second    Third    Fourth
Fiscal Year 2012
Net sales as a percentage of full year          24.0 %    22.6 %  21.0  %    32.4 %
Operating profit as a percentage of full year   23.0      13.2    (2.2 )     66.0
Fiscal Year 2011
Net sales as a percentage of full year          23.6 %    22.4 %  21.9  %    32.1 %
Operating profit as a percentage of full year   25.0      17.3     2.6       55.1
Fiscal Year 2010
Net sales as a percentage of full year          24.9 %    23.1 %  21.3  %    30.7 %
Operating profit as a percentage of full year   25.2      17.7     7.5       49.6

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Operating Strategy

In 2005, Mr. Fishman joined us as our Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and President and introduced our current operating strategy, the What's Important Now Strategy ("WIN Strategy"). The WIN Strategy focuses on three key elements of our business: merchandising, real estate, and cost structure. The WIN Strategy was designed to increase the operating profit performance of our existing store base. In 2009, driven by both the improvements in our store productivity and the softening of the commercial real estate market, we expanded our WIN Strategy to also include the pursuit of net new store growth. In 2011, our Board of Directors approved the purchase of Liquidation World Inc., a Canadian closeout retailer, with the expectation that the management team could implement the key elements of the WIN Strategy to produce a profitable turnaround strategy while growing a store base in Canada. From 2010 to 2012, we grew our net store count by 213 stores, or 16%, including stores acquired through the purchase of Liquidation World, Inc. Additionally, over the past three years, we have reinvested $370 million in our business through capital expenditures and $1 billion was returned to shareholders through publicly announced share repurchase programs.

Although Mr. Fishman has announced his intentions to retire in 2013, we anticipate that the key elements of the WIN Strategy will remain consistent in 2013. During 2013, the Company intends to announce the hiring of a new Chief Executive Officer, who we expect to assess the current WIN strategy initiatives and finalize our strategic plan for future years.

In 2013, we anticipate:

Earnings per diluted share from continuing operations to be $3.05 to $3.25.

Net sales to increase in both the U.S. and Canada:

?         U.S. comparable stores sales in the range of flat to 1% increase and
          growth of 2% to 3% in total net sales.

?         Canadian comparable stores sales increase of 15% to 22% and growth of
          16% to 23% in total net sales.

      Opening 50 new stores and closing 45 stores, for net growth of 5 stores in
       the U.S. Additionally, in Canada, we expect to open 2 to 3 new stores
       under the Big Lots name while closing a similar number of Liquidation
       World or LW stores.

      Cash flow (operating activities less investing activities) of
       approximately $180 million for future reinvestment, return to
       shareholders, or to lower our obligations under the 2011 Credit Agreement.

The following sections provide additional discussion and analysis of our WIN Strategy in our U.S. segment and the implementation of the WIN Strategy in our Canadian segment. The "2012 Compared To 2011" section below provides additional discussion and analysis of the impact of these strategies on our financial performance and the assumptions and expectations upon which we are basing our guidance for our future results.

U.S. Segment


From a merchandising perspective, we believe our competitive positioning as the largest broadline closeout retailer in the U.S. affords us a strategic advantage when sourcing merchandise for our stores. We source our merchandise in three key ways:

Manufacturers and vendors have closeout merchandise for a number of different reasons including other retailers canceling orders, other retailers going out of business, marketing or packaging changes, a new product launch that has failed, and various other reasons. In these situations, we are able to source product at a discounted cost and offer significant value to our customers. We currently have thousands of vendor relationships for closeout inventory that we have developed over many years. We believe these relationships and the size and financial strength of our company give us a competitive advantage.

For certain merchandise categories, there is not always an abundant supply of closeout inventory. In these situations, we may work with vendors to develop product, some of which is imported. Imports totaled approximately 24% of our merchandise purchases in 2012. Categories with the highest concentration of imports include Seasonal, Furniture, and to a lesser extent the Home category and the toys department.

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Our merchandise mix also includes replenishable and private or captive label products. This type of merchandise is consistently available, and as a result, it can be offered in our stores on a regular basis. This merchandise has many of the same characteristics as our closeout merchandise but is reorderable upon demand. Our prices for replenishable and private or captive label products are generally positioned below our competition, but to a lesser extent than our closeout sourced merchandise.

We offer seven major merchandise categories in our store: Food, Consumables, Furniture, Home, Seasonal, Hardlines & Toys, and Electronics & Other. Furniture is the largest category at 17.9% of sales in 2012 and Hardlines & Toys is the smallest category at 11.0% of sales in 2012. In the fourth quarter of 2012, we realigned certain of our merchandise departments and categories to be consistent with the restructuring of our merchandising teams and management structure. Please see the section "2012 Compared To 2011" below for further discussion on the realignment of our merchandise categories.

During Mr. Fishman's tenure, our merchandising strategies to increase sales have been predominantly focused on increasing the average transaction value. We have employed two primary methods to accomplish this goal: (1) drive more units per transaction, and (2) grow the average item retail price by offering our customers better quality merchandise, better values, and more prominent brand-name products. This approach is consistent with our customer research that suggests that our core customer recognizes quality and brands and is willing to pay a higher retail price, if the value or cost savings remains significant compared to what other retailers are offering. This strategy has resulted in fewer cartons processed by our distribution centers and stores, which has benefited our cost structure.

While executing our WIN Strategy, we have made measurable progress towards our goals of growing sales per selling square foot (which increased from $146 per square foot in 2005 to $163 per square foot in 2012, for our U.S. segment) and increasing gross margin dollars (which increased from $1,732 million in 2005 to $2,060 million in 2012, for our U.S. segment).

From a merchandising perspective, our goal in 2013 is to continue to provide extreme value, improve quality, and expand the presence of recognizable brand-name merchandise in our stores. We expect our major merchandise offerings will remain the same as in prior years but the percentage of business by category may fluctuate based on customer demand and the availability of compelling deals that we are able to acquire. For example in 2013, we will install coolers and freezers in a group of 75 stores regionally dispersed throughout the country in order to test sales of frozen and refrigerated foods and beverages. The coolers and freezers test will introduce new merchandise to our current customer base while also qualifying our stores to accept certain government assistance programs. We believe acceptance of these programs could enable our stores to service a growing portion of the U.S. population.

Our marketing efforts involve a mix of printed circulars, in-store marketing, television, email and online advertising. Much of our marketing is based on information that we have learned about our customers, principally through customer surveys and information gathered through our rewards program. Based on this information, we believe the majority of our core customers come to our stores without a shopping list or without a specific item or brand in mind to purchase. We believe value dominates decision making as our customers look to us for savings. In 2012, we made investments to improve our in-store signage and merchandising displays, with a focus on our comparative pricing to competitors. We expect to continue to develop these efforts in 2013.

We continue to market to our Buzz Club members, by offering a free online membership and alerting them to new merchandise and offerings in our stores. In 2009, we launched our Rewards program, which is our first true customer loyalty program, which we use to provide benefits to our customers. After making the required number of qualifying purchases, the Rewards member earns a coupon on their account for a future discount in our stores. Additionally, members may receive marketing information and other targeted promotional materials.

During 2012, we began testing a new structure to our Rewards program in select markets that would replace the current qualifying purchase system. This pilot program utilizes targeted promotions, in lieu of the current qualifying purchase system, to attract customers to our stores and increase the average basket and frequency of transactions. Pending further testing and review, we expect to implement some variation of this new structure on a chain-wide basis in the second half of 2013.

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From a marketing perspective in 2013, there are four primary programs designed to continue to grow sales:
We use our printed advertising circulars and promotional pricing to create excitement surrounding the deals that we offer.

We use television commercials broadcast nationwide on both national and cable networks to promote our brand and, from time to time, promote items or special discounts in our stores.

Our signage initiatives that focus on value and extreme price savings are also designed to continue our effort to reinforce our niche in low everyday price retailing.

The use of our Rewards program is a key driver to furthering our focus on our core shoppers and expanding our customer base. We believe the insights we are gaining from the pilot program of the new Rewards structure will lead to more direct and focused promotions that positively influence the habits of our members. At February 2, 2013, our Rewards program membership totaled 15.3 million members.

Also, during 2013, we intend to launch a new branding campaign under the tag lines of "Here's the Deal" and "Big Featured Deal" as our customer research has suggested a more favorable view of "deals" compared to prior marketing campaigns. This new tag line will be prominent in our print, television and in-store signage as well as our Rewards materials.

From a store operations perspective, we began the company-wide rollout of our "Ready for Business" program in 2009. The program focuses primarily on servicing our customers and creating operational efficiencies, based on certain performance criteria and standards centered on improving the consistency of visual presentation, merchandise recovery efforts, and overall store cleanliness. "Ready for Business" also focuses on development of our field management team and improving our training programs, which we believe are very important to our store growth strategy. As we have increased the number of our stores, we have been working to develop the depth of our field management team in order to internally promote and provide opportunities to qualified internal candidates who have a strong understanding of our business model. We believe our focus on standards and investments in talent development have improved the performance of our new stores during their initial months of operation.

Real Estate

We made a strategic decision to enter a store growth phase in 2009, based on improvements in our store productivity, increased profitability at a consolidated level as a result of the WIN Strategy and the softening of the real estate market, which provided a greater selection of locations at more advantageous lease costs. Since the beginning of 2009, we have opened 311 new stores, and closed 155 stores, which has resulted in a net increase of 156 stores, or approximately 12%. The commercial real estate market has been recovering in the past 18 to 24 months and therefore rents are not as favorable now as they were in 2009, 2010, and in the early months of 2011. Based on this trend, we have decided to moderate our store growth efforts in 2013 by opening approximately 50 new stores, while closing an estimated 45 stores.

In 2012, we tested a store remodel program in 16 stores in two geographic markets: Miami, Florida and Modesto, California. Based on the positive results of the initial testing of this remodel program, we have decided to expand the test program in 2013 to approximately 30 additional locations in three separate markets within Florida, California, and Tennessee / Virginia.

As discussed in "Item 2. Properties," of this Form 10-K, we have 305 store leases which will expire in 2013. During 2013, we anticipate closing approximately 45 of those locations. The majority of these closings will be the result of our choice to relocate the store to an improved location nearby. The balance of the closings will be the result of either a lack of renewal options or our belief that we can no longer generate an acceptable financial return in the location. For our remaining store locations with fiscal 2013 lease expirations, we expect to exercise our renewal option or negotiate more favorable lease renewal terms sufficient enough to allow us to continue operations and achieve an acceptable return on our investment.

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Cost Structure

Our goal each year is to continue to generate expense leverage (lower expenses as a percent of net sales). Since 2005, we have made several operational changes that have significantly contributed to the generation of expense leverage. Those operational changes include:

Controlled inventory levels at our stores and regional distribution centers.

Purchased and distributed merchandise to our stores in more optimal quantities and pack sizes to minimize handling in our distribution centers and stores.

Timed receipt of merchandise in stores closer to the expected display dates in order to avoid excessive handling of merchandise.

Increased the percentage of merchandise that arrives in our stores pre-ticketed and pre-packaged for efficient display and sale.

Refined our staffing and payroll scheduling models in our stores.

Invested in energy management systems to actively control utility costs, while reducing energy consumption.

Implemented several initiatives which lowered our distribution and outbound transportation expenses, including re-negotiating carrier contracts or changing carriers and determining the most optimal mix of carriers (one-way versus dedicated fleet).

Tested and implemented lower levels of print advertising distribution in lieu of more cost effective email distribution.

In 2013, we will continue to refine our activities, including those listed above, along with new initiatives to control costs in stores and our distribution centers. Additionally, the implementation of certain new systems will provide opportunity for future expense leverage.

Canadian Segment

Our Canadian segment is focused on broadline closeout retailing and we have implemented merchandising strategies similar to those in our U.S. segment. From a merchandising perspective, our assortment is fairly similar to our U.S. segment, while the percentage of each category varies based on seasonality, availability of product, and the demand of the Canadian consumer. We believe the merchandising categories of goods sold in our U.S. segment have been core to our success, and consumers in Canada are responding to our value proposition. Additionally, many of the vendors with whom we have strong relationships in the U.S. also have Canadian operations in need of an established closeout partner; therefore, we believe we have access to sufficient merchandise flow in order to execute our strategy.

During 2013, we will be focused on: (1) continuing to improve merchandise quality and adjust merchandise mix based on consumer demand and testing; (2) testing potential new marketing strategies and options; and (3) introducing the Big Lots brand to Canada by opening two to three new stores while also rebranding a small number of existing Liquidation World or LW stores under the Big Lots name.

Discontinued Operations

We continue to incur an insignificant amount of costs on the 130 stores we closed in 2005 that are classified as discontinued operations. We also report certain activity related to our prior ownership of the KB Toys business in discontinued operations. See note 13 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for a more detailed discussion of all of our discontinued operations.

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2012 COMPARED TO 2011

U.S. Segment

Net Sales
Net sales by merchandise category, in dollars and as a percentage of total net
sales, and net sales change in dollars and percentage in 2012 compared to 2011
were as follows:

(In thousands)              2012                   2011                 Change
Furniture           $   936,463   17.9 %   $   883,341   17.2 %   $  53,122    6.0  %
Consumables             870,098   16.6         848,492   16.5        21,606    2.5
Home                    810,133   15.4         799,494   15.5        10,639    1.3
Food                    742,267   14.1         723,280   14.1        18,987    2.6
Seasonal                707,418   13.5         683,498   13.3        23,920    3.5
Electronics & Other     602,954   11.5         607,606   11.8        (4,652 ) (0.8 )
Hardlines & Toys        575,939   11.0         594,453   11.6       (18,514 ) (3.1 )
 Net sales          $ 5,245,272  100.0 %   $ 5,140,164  100.0 %   $ 105,108    2.0  %

In the fourth quarter of 2012, we realigned select merchandise categories to be consistent with the realignment of our merchandising team and changes to our management reporting. Prior to the fourth quarter of 2012, we reported sales of our toys, books and sporting goods departments in the Play n' Wear category. We moved the toys, books and sporting goods departments out of the Play n' Wear category and repositioned them in the Hardlines & Other category. We also moved the results of certain large closeout deals that are typically acquired through our alternate product sourcing operations out of the Hardlines & Other category and repositioned them in the Play n' Wear category. We subsequently renamed our Hardlines & Other category to Hardlines & Toys and renamed our Play n' Wear category to Electronics & Other. Our Consumables category was also separated into a Food category and a Consumables category. The Consumables category now contains our health and beauty care, housekeeping supplies, household chemicals, paper products, pet, and home organization departments, while the Food category contains our various food and beverage departments. Fiscal 2012 and 2011 sales results have been reclassified to reflect this realignment.

Net sales increased $105.1 million or 2.0% to $5,245.3 million in 2012, compared to $5,140.2 million in 2011. Net sales increased by $236.9 million principally due to the net addition of 44 stores since the end of 2011 and an additional week of sales, as 2012 was a 53-week retail calendar year. This growth was partially offset by a 2.7% decrease in comparable store sales, which reduced net sales by $131.8 million. Our comparable store sales are calculated by using all stores that were open for at least fifteen months. The sales increase in the Furniture category was driven by upholstery, mattresses, and case goods, partially offset by a decrease in ready-to-assemble furniture. The Consumables category experienced an increase in most departments, particularly the paper, household chemicals and housekeeping departments, which was partially offset by lagging health and beauty care sales. The increase in sales of our Home category was primarily due to growth in both the domestics and food preparation departments, offset by declines in most other Home departments. During 2012, we allocated additional selling space in our stores to the Home category in an effort to increase sales in this higher margin category. This initiative did not meet our expectations and was a factor in certain management changes of this key category. The Food category experienced increases in nearly all departments as customers continue to respond to our new assortments and specialty offerings. The Seasonal category increase was driven by strong sales of our Christmas trim assortment and moderate growth of our lawn & garden and summer departments, partially offset by a decrease in sales of our fall seasonal departments. The decrease in the Electronics & Other category was primarily driven by lower sales in the apparel, lingerie and infant accessories departments as we allocated less space and reduced our assortments, which allowed for the space expansion in our Home category. These declines were partially offset by growth in jewelry and electronics, the latter of which benefited from a favorable response to our . . .

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