Big Lots, Inc.


Big Lots, Inc. is a Fortune 500 retail corporation headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1967, Big Lots employs over 37,000 individuals in approximately 1,400 department store locations across the United States and Canada. The retailer sells a wide variety of merchandise, including packaged food and beverages, furniture, clothing, and electronics.

Big Lots management wanted to quantify advertising return on investment (ROI) and more strategically allocate its marketing resources to drive sales growth. Promotional activities included online, instore, television, radio, and print advertising, and advertising expenditure accounted for roughly 2.5 percent of annual sales. Big Lots partnered with QualPro to optimize advertising spending and improve profit margins.


After collecting and analyzing historical data related to store performance and sales, QualPro provided Big Lots with improvement ideas to integrate immediately into existing sales processes. Then, QualPro assembled a project team that included members of Big Lots management, as well as participants from the sales and marketing teams, to brainstorm ideas to improve advertising ROI and drive sales performance. The team narrowed the potential ideas ones deemed to be practical, fast, and cost-free. Some of these ideas included online, in-store, television, radio, and print advertising tactics, as well as demographic profiling and competitive market segmentation strategies.


After testing, QualPro recommended the ideal promotional mix to leverage synergistic effects and drive purchasing behavior. The results yielded an additional $150 million in annual sales, which improved Big Lots’ gross margin ROI by a ratio of 14 to 1.