Add Big Lots to the list of discount stores like Aldi that are increasingly popping up in more affluent, suburban communities.
The retailer of discounted brand-name products opened a 23,000 square-foot store in Chesterfield Commons last week in a building formerly occupied by a Circuit City.
In November, Big Lots also opened a new store in the former Circuit City location in Fenton. Circuit City, of course, closed all of its stores a couple of years ago after filing for bankruptcy.
Toni Fink, a Big Lots spokeswoman, said the company has been on an expansion spurt in the last couple of years -- opening 80 stores last year and with plans to open 90 more around the country this year. Part of the growth has been driven by the availability of prime real estate, she said.
"We've been able to take advantage of a lot of empty Circuit Cities and empty World Markets," she said. "And so we've been able to get into nicer spots in more upscale shopping centers."
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Like dollar stores and other discount chains, Big Lots has seen a boost in its customer base of people from higher income levels since the onset of the recession.
"We still have the Big Lots shoppers who have known and loved us for many years, but we have also been seeing new faces coming into Big Lots in the last couple of years," Fink said.
Big Lots now has about 13 stores in the St. Louis region.
Big Lots says its prices are typically 70 percent below those of traditional retailers because it specializes in closeouts of brand-name merchandise that often have been produced in surplus.
Its merchandise range from everyday consumables to seasonal goods, home decor, electronics, toys, furniture, and mattresses.