Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Big Lots (BIG) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Big Lots have outperformed the industry in the past three months. This impressive performance can be attributed to the company’s better-than-expected earnings in fourth-quarter fiscal 2018. The metric also increased year over year. Certainly, the company’s Store of the Future initiative and the e-commerce business bode well. Moreover, the company revealed its plans to launch a three-year cost reduction program, which focuses on organization size and structure, store payroll, indirect costs, supply chain and cost of goods sold. Also, Big Lots is committed to boost shareholder value through dividends and share buybacks. However, the company’s top line missed the consensus mark and declined year over year on reduced store count. Also, the company is grappling with higher costs that are weighing on margins. Further, management issued a soft view for fiscal 2019. Stiff competition is an added concern.”

BIG has been the topic of a number of other reports. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on shares of Big Lots from $33.00 to $36.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research note on Monday, March 11th. Deutsche Bank downgraded shares of Big Lots from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, February 28th. Goldman Sachs Group lowered shares of Big Lots from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $34.00 price objective for the company. in a report on Thursday, January 10th. Bank of America raised their price objective on shares of Big Lots from $40.00 to $45.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Monday, March 11th. Finally, Raymond James raised their price objective on shares of Big Lots from $36.00 to $40.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Monday, March 11th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $41.93.

BIG opened at $36.52 on Wednesday. Big Lots has a 1-year low of $26.21 and a 1-year high of $50.35. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.75, a quick ratio of 0.25 and a current ratio of 1.77. The company has a market capitalization of $1.46 billion, a PE ratio of 9.04, a P/E/G ratio of 1.36 and a beta of 1.27.

Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, March 8th. The company reported $2.68 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.30 by $0.38. Big Lots had a net margin of 3.00% and a return on equity of 25.67%. The company had revenue of $1.60 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.60 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $2.57 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts expect that Big Lots will post 3.67 earnings per share for the current year.

Big Lots declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase plan on Friday, March 8th that allows the company to repurchase $50.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to buy up to 3.6% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Big Lots news, EVP Michael Allen Schlonsky sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.99, for a total transaction of $194,950.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 67,296 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,623,871.04. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Nicholas E. Padovano sold 4,734 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, April 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $38.19, for a total transaction of $180,791.46. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 10,776 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $411,535.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 11,380 shares of company stock valued at $434,290. 1.10% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in Big Lots by 24.4% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,030,976 shares of the company’s stock worth $229,299,000 after purchasing an additional 1,184,717 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its stake in shares of Big Lots by 15.1% in the 1st quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,997,770 shares of the company’s stock valued at $75,954,000 after acquiring an additional 262,276 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its stake in shares of Big Lots by 178.5% in the 4th quarter. FMR LLC now owns 1,846,371 shares of the company’s stock valued at $53,397,000 after acquiring an additional 1,183,400 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in shares of Big Lots by 12.7% in the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 1,133,425 shares of the company’s stock valued at $32,779,000 after acquiring an additional 127,667 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. increased its stake in shares of Big Lots by 1.8% in the 4th quarter. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. now owns 755,176 shares of the company’s stock valued at $21,840,000 after acquiring an additional 13,524 shares in the last quarter.

Big Lots Company Profile

Big Lots, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates as a retailer in the United States. The company offers products under various merchandising categories, such as furniture category that includes upholstery, mattress, case goods, and ready-to-assemble departments; seasonal category, which comprises Christmas trim, lawn and garden, summer, and other holiday departments; soft home category that consists of fashion and utility bedding, bath, window, decorative textile, home organization, area rugs, home décor, and frames departments; and food category that includes beverage and grocery, candy and snacks, and specialty foods departments.

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