Big Lots was founded by Sol Shenk in 1967 when Consolidated Stores Corporation was formed. The company opened it’s first Odd Lots store in Columbus, Ohio in 1982.
In 1983, Consolidated was purchased by Revco but was soon made a separate company and in 1985 began trading on the American Stock Exchange. The company opened its first official Big Lots stores in 1985.
In 1986, the company switched over to the NYSE, trading under symbol CNS.
In 1994, Consolidated acquired Toy Liquidators, which added 82 stores to the chain. In 1996, the company purchased KB Toys. Both Toy Liquidators and KB were later sold to private equity firms.
In 2001, Consolidated officially changed its name to Big Lots, Inc and its NYSE symbol changed to BLI.
The company closed 170 stores in 2005 and in 2006 began trading under symbol BIG.
In 2011, the company purchased Liquidation World, a Canadian retailer with 89 locations.
The company currently has over 1400 stores in 47 US states and Canada. The Big Lots corporate office is still located in Columbus, OH.