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Big Lots names exec VP, chief merchandising officer

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Big Lots announced that Jack Pestello is joining the company July 27 as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer.

Pestello succeeds Lisa Bachmann, who announced in May that she planned to retire from the company on September 4.

In a statement announcing the hire, Big Lots said Pestello brings a strong balance of strategic and executive skills gained over more than 25 years in the global retail sector.

Pestello has spent the last seven years at Walmart, serving most recently as senior vice president, private brands. Pestello’s retail experience spans merchandising, sourcing, category development and brand development, said Bruce Thorn, president and chief executive officer for Big Lots.

“Jack is a true value retail merchant, with a proven track record in strategic sourcing and implementing merchandising strategies to drive traffic,” said Thorn. “We look forward to benefiting from his industry expertise and insights as we continue to execute on our strategic initiatives to generate long-term, sustainable growth.”

Pestello was hired by Walmart as a vice president in its international unit, where he spent two years leading an effort to consolidate global supplier partnerships, and building an international framework and strategic platform for the retailer’s private brands business, Big Lots noted. Over the past five years as senior vice president, private brands, Pestello was responsible for nearly doubling sales while significantly reducing sourcing costs.

Pestello previously held positions in value-oriented and consumer-focused businesses, including chief merchandising officer of Woolworths Australia.

“Delivering a compelling customer experience and maintaining deep customer connections is more important than ever in today’s retail environment,” Pestello said in a July 20 press release. “I am excited to leverage my brand-building and merchandising experience to further advance Big Lots’ momentum, and ensure we continue to provide great products and value to our customers. I look forward to working closely with Bruce and the rest of the leadership team to help the company fulfill its potential.”

Big Lots operates 1,404 BIG LOTS stores in 47 states, selling merchandise in categories including furniture, seasonal, food, consumables, electronics, toys, hard home and soft home.

Thorn thanked Bachmann “for her tremendous contributions in multiple roles with Big Lots over the past 18 years, and for her support in helping us achieve a seamless transition. Lisa will always be part of our Big Lots family, and we wish her every success going forward.”

The company also updated its guidance on comparable-store sales in the fiscal second quarter. The retailer said it now expects comps to come in at the high end of the forecast for percentage gains in the mid-20s to high-20s range.


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