Big Lots falls after cutting outlook for year

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Big Lots fell Friday after the discount retailer lowered its outlook for the year, saying cold weather has put a damper on sales.

Big Lots Inc. on Thursday cut its earnings outlook for the year to between $2.87 and $3.12 per share, below analyst expectations, from $3.05 to $3.25 per share. The company said cold weather hurt sales of seasonal merchandise, such as lawn and garden products, in the quarter that ended May 4.

Weaker sales stemming from cold weather continued into May, the company said on a conference call with analysts. Big Lots expects that shopping trends will improve in June and July, but that it will have to discount more. That will likely cut into profit.

Shares fell 68 cents, or 2 percent, to $34.25 in afternoon trading. The Columbus, Ohio, company's stock had gained 23 percent in 2013.