Big Lots has elevated CFO Timothy A. Johnson’s to EVP, CFO. Johnson has served as financial chief since 2012 with primary responsibility for all financial disciplines within the company including financial reporting and controls, treasury, risk management, tax, internal audit, financial planning and analysis and investor relations.
During the last several months, his role has expanded significantly to include responsibility for the company's real estate strategy and administration along with the asset protection of its stores, distribution centers and offices. Johnson is a member of the executive leadership team and assists in charting the company's strategic direction.
"Throughout my career, I have always found the key to success comes down to people, and TJ is a great example,” said CEO David Campisi. “He has been a trusted business partner to me during the last 10 months as we reposition our business, and he has been an invaluable contributor to Big Lots for well over a decade. TJ's knowledge of retail operations and general business acumen have been crucial as we develop our strategic plan for the next three years. I am thrilled, and extremely proud, to announce a much deserved promotion."
Johnson will continue to report to Campisi.
News of Johnson’s promotion comes in conjunction with the company’s fourth-quarter results. Net sales for continuing U.S. operations for the quarter decreased 7.3% to $1.6 billion, compared to $1.7 billion for the fourth quarter last year. Comparable-store sales for U.S. stores open at least 15 months decreased 3% for the quarter.
Excluding the deferred tax benefit associated with the loss on the company’s investment in Canadian operations, adjusted income from continuing U.S. operations totaled $84 million, or $1.45 per diluted share for the quarter, which had 13 weeks. For the same period last year, which had an additional week, the company reported guidance of $1.40 to $1.55 per diluted share, and income from continuing U.S. operations of $119.9 million, or $2.08 per diluted share. The company estimates that the impact of the extra week last year was approximately $0.05 per diluted share.
Net loss for Canadian operations for the quarter totaled $27 million, or $0.47 per diluted share, which compares to the company’s guidance of a net loss of $0.65 to $0.75 per diluted share. The company explained that the favorable result in the fourth quarter resulted from higher sell-through of merchandise at better margins, lower operating expenses and the timing of recognition of lease liability charges and certain asset write downs.
Looking ahead, Big Lots forecasts first quarter income from continuing U.S. operations to be in the range of $0.40 to $0.45 per diluted share, compared to last year's adjusted income from continuing U.S. operations of $0.70 per diluted share. This guidance assumes U.S. comparable-store sales are in a range of slightly positive to slightly negative.
The company anticipates a first-quarter loss as a result of its discontinued Canadian business, to be reported as discontinued operations beginning with the first quarter of fiscal 2014, in the range of $37 to $41 million, or $0.64 to $0.71 per diluted share. The estimate includes charges related to lease liabilities, severance and asset impairment.