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Big Lots closing its wholesale units

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Big Lots Inc. said Friday that it will close its wholesale business by the end of the year, citing tough competition and weaker sales and margins.

The closeout retailer runs Big Lot stores across North America as well as a wholesale business under Big Lots Wholesale, Consolidated International and Wisconsin Toy banners.

Big Lots said the wholesale units will liquidate their inventory and associates will be moved into traditional retail positions wherever possible. It did not disclose how many employees would be affected.

Company CEO and President David Campisi said the move is in the best interest of the company and its shareholders by giving it a narrower focus.

The company expects to record a pretax charge of $5 million to $8 million during the third quarter.

Shares of the Columbus, Ohio, company increased 4 cents to $36.40 by midday. Its shares have risen almost 28 percent since the start of the year.

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