Big Lots cuts outlook as profit falls

Columbus, Ohio -- Big Lots on Friday posted a lower-than expected quarterly profit, and the company cut its outlook for the crucial holiday quarter, in the face of strong competition and aggressive promotions from rivals.

The chain said profit for the quarter ended Oct. 30 fell 42% to $17.7 million, from $30.3 million a year earlier, when the company's earnings included a 10-cents-a-share benefit from real estate transactions. Net sales in the latest quarter rose 2% to $1.06 billion as same-store sales rose 0.7%.

"Investments made to open new stores, refresh existing stores, and prepare our business for the all-important holiday season along with softer third-quarter sales results caused our expenses to grow at a faster rate than sales," the company said in a statement.

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