Big Lots searches for new head merchant

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Big Lots EVP and CMO John C. Martin has announced his plans to retire. He will remain with the company until his successor is appointed, and has committed to provide guidance to his successor and the company through May 2014.  

Big Lots has retained SpencerStuart to conduct a search of external potential candidates.

"On behalf of the board of directors and our nearly 40,000 associates across the country, I would like to thank John for his dedication and unwavering support of Big Lots throughout the last 10 years,” said Philip E. Mallott, chairman of the board. “He has been a highly valued member of our executive team in a number of different roles including merchandising, marketing, store operations and human resources. The knowledge transfer of his deep understanding of our business and the closeout industry has proven to be very valuable to David Campisi, our new CEO, and John's role in on-boarding a new chief merchant should also provide for the best possible leadership transition during this critical time in our company's evolution." 

"John has been incredibly helpful and valuable to me throughout my first two months with the company,” added Campisi. “He's the consummate retail professional and I appreciate his insights on merchandising strategy and execution. Additionally, he and I together are working toward new marketing direction while looking for new leadership in this key area of our business. When John ultimately leaves the business next year, he will be deeply missed, but we are all excited for John and his family and wish him many years of good health and happiness ahead."

"In the near term, I am focused on helping the team execute our fall and holiday strategies to make the most of 2013 while also offering my support to my replacement once he or she is identified,” said Martin. “Big Lots is a great company with great people, and I am excited about what the future holds for our business. I want to thank David, the board and our associates for their partnership and support throughout the last 10 years here at Big Lots. There have been so many accomplishments, new friendships, and good times which I will always value. After nearly 40 years in the retail business with long hours and extensive travel, I look forward to slowing down and spending more quality time with family and friends."

The broadline closeout retailer operates 1,510 Big Lots stores in the 48 contiguous United States, 3 Big Lots store in Canada and 76 Liquidation World and LW stores in Canada. Wholesale operations are conducted through Big Lots Wholesale, Consolidated International and Wisconsin Toy, and with online sales at its dedicated e-commerce site.