COLUMBUS, Ohio-Rising expenses offset a small gain in sales to depress Big Lots’ net income for 38.1 percent in its fiscal second quarter, to $22.1 million.
Selling, general and administrative expenses increased by 8.7 percent in dollars and 130 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 33.8 percent. Increases in cost of goods sold slimmed Big Lots’ gross margin by 30 basis points, to 39.2 percent.
While net sales in the quarter, which ended on July 28, gained 4.4 percent to total $1.2 billion, same-store sales for Big Lots’ U.S. stores fell 1.9 percent. Meanwhile, the retailer’s Canadian operations incurred a net loss of $3.3 million, compared to a net loss of $1.2 million in the second quarter of last year.
Based on the results from its first two fiscal quarters, Big Lots said it now expects U.S. sales for fiscal 2012 to increase from 3 to 4 percent. Same-store sales for its U.S. locations are now projected to decrease in the low single-digit range. The operating loss from the Canadian operations is now expected to total from $13 million to $15 million for the whole fiscal year.