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Big Lots shares post big gains on 3Q results

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of discount retailer Big Lots Inc. posted some of the market's biggest gains in Tuesday morning trading, after the company reported a smaller loss than Wall Street expected and announced that its CEO plans to retire.

THE SPARK: For the quarter ended Oct. 27, Big Lots said its loss from continuing operations totaled $6 million, or 10 cents per share. Analysts, on average, expected a loss of 24 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.

Revenue was $1.13 billion, slightly below average Wall Street predictions of $1.14 billion in revenue.

Meanwhile, the company said that Chairman, CEO and President Steven Fishman plans to retire. Fishman will remain in those roles until a replacement is named.

THE BIG PICTURE: The Columbus, Ohio-based company has struggled financially this year and its stock has taken a beating.

In August Big Lots said its fiscal second-quarter net income fell 38 percent, significantly more than Wall Street expected, and it slashed its profit forecast for the full year. It also announced a shake-up in its executive ranks, promoting two executives to CFO and chief operating officer, and bringing back its previous head of merchandising.

Its shares dropped nearly 25 percent then and they have struggled to recover.

THE ANALYSIS: Canaccord analyst Laura Champine noted that Big Lots' profitability didn't shrink as much as she thought it would during the recent quarter, despite a drop in revenue at stores open at least 15 months that was roughly in line with what she expected.

Champine backed her "Buy" rating for the company, saying she thinks profit expectations for the company have "pulled back to a reasonable level."

THE SHARES: Up $2.49, or 8.9 percent, to $30.53 in very heavy midday trading, after peaking at $30.68 earlier in the day. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $26.69 and $47.22.