Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) is a U.S. off-price retailer that sells everything from food and clothes to furniture and appliances. Specifically, it is a closeout retailer -- it purchases merchandise, at very low prices, directly from vendors that result from production overruns, packaging changes, discontinued products, liquidations, or returns -- and thus is able to offer products at much lower prices than traditional discount retailers like Dollar Tree Stores (DLTR). The company is also able to acquire merchandise from brand name retailers and appeals not only to the lower-class but also price-conscious middle-class consumers.
Big Lots is somewhat shielded from the negative impacts of tough economic times by its position as a niche market retailer for thrift-minded middle-class consumers who put emphasis on quality and value. During economic slowdowns, discount stores like Big Lots typically have an influx of customers looking to save money. Big Lots faces the challenge of maintaining and strengthening the customer base it gained during the recession.(Read more at Wikinvest )