TEXT - S&P comments on Big Lots rating

Thu Dec 6, 2012 4:23pm EST

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Dec 6 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that its ratings on Big Lots Inc. (BBB-/Negative/--) are not immediately affected by the news that Steven Fishman is retiring as chief executive of the U.S. closeout retailer. The CEO's departure comes amid reports that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Mr. Fishman's $10 million stock sale ahead of an earnings report that included slowing sales earlier this year. The company said in reports earlier in the week that it has not been contacted by the SEC and that the timing of Mr. Fishman's departure is related to a retention plan set to expire in January 2013. We believe Big Lots' performance will continue to remain weak as customers shift spending away from the discounter's discretionary offerings. Given the announced change in leadership we would expect to meet with the new CEO in the future to better develop and refine our analysis of management and governance.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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