Big Lots closing stores, considering bankruptcy. Will there be one in Ohio?

Big Lots closing stores, considering bankruptcy. Will there be one in Ohio?


Columbus-based discount chain Big Lots is closing 35 to 40 stores this year as it considers bankruptcy, saying inflation is too high and consumer spending has fallen.

It is the latest chain with an Ohio location to file for bankruptcy, following Red Lobster, Rite Aid and Bed Bath & Beyond.

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“In 2024, the U.S. economy continues to face macroeconomic challenges, including high inflation, which has negatively impacted our customers’ purchasing power,” Big Lots said in a financial disclosure.

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A Big Lots spokesman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment and information about which stores might close. The potential bankruptcy was first reported by the New York Post.

Big Lots had planned to open three stores last year, but now plans to close 35 to 40 across the country. There are 102 Big Lots stores in Ohio.

Where are Big Lots in Ohio?

Ohio ranks fourth in the nation for the number of Big Lots stores with 102, behind Florida (106), California (109) and Texas (116). The discount chain has two locations in Akron, one in Canton, five in Cincinnati and five in Columbus, according to its website.

In addition, Big Lots has multiple stores in Toledo and Cleveland and many locations near Ohio’s largest cities, including Dublin, Grove City, Blue Ash, Milford, Middletown, Miamisburg, Mentor and Beachwood.

Big Lots also has 40 locations in Kentucky, including in Covington and Newport near Cincinnati.

Increase in bankruptcies

According to a report by Wall Street firm S&P Global, June saw the highest number of bankruptcies since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020.

According to S&P, the number of bankruptcies this year was 346, “higher than any comparable figure in the previous 13 years.”

“High interest rates, supply chain issues and slowing consumer spending continue to weigh on struggling companies,” the note said.

From March 2022 to July 2023, the Fed raised its key interest rate from near zero to a range of 5.25% to 5% — the highest level in 23 years — in an attempt to curb the pandemic-induced spike in inflation.

Recent reports highlight that inflation eased significantly in May, with a key measure the Fed watches closely at 2.6%. That’s above the Fed’s 2% target but the weakest since March 2021 and down from a peak of 5.6% in mid-2022.

But Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell remains cautious about cutting rates as inflation unexpectedly rose in the first quarter after a significant slowdown last year.