Big Lots today announced that Jack Pestello has been appointed Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer of Big Lots, effective July 27, 2020. Mr. Pestello succeeds Lisa Bachmann who, as previously announced, will be retiring after a transition period. Mr. Pestello will report directly to Bruce Thorn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Big Lots.

Mr. Pestello joins Big Lots following seven years in leadership roles at Walmart and with over 25 years of global retail experience spanning merchandising, sourcing, category and brand development. At Walmart, he most recently served as Senior Vice President and General Merchandise Manager for Walmart’s Grocery business, after having spent five years as Senior Vice President, Private Brands, where he was responsible for nearly doubling sales while significantly reducing sourcing costs. Previously, Mr. Pestello served as Vice President of Walmart’s International Division, where he led the global consolidation of supplier partnerships and built an international framework and strategic platform for the Private Brands business. Prior to Walmart, Mr. Pestello served in a number of positions in value-oriented and consumer-focused businesses including Chief Merchandising Officer of Woolworths Australia and business development and operations roles at Daymon Worldwide.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Jack to Big Lots and are confident that the strong balance of strategic and executional skills he brings to our team will make an immediate positive impact,” said Bruce Thorn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Big Lots. “Jack is a true value retail merchant, with a proven track record in strategic sourcing and implementing merchandising strategies to drive traffic. 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.”

“Delivering a compelling customer experience and maintaining deep customer connections is more important than ever in today’s retail environment,” Mr. Pestello said. “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.”

Mr. Thorn added, “I want to thank Lisa 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.”

As part of the announcement, the company reported that it has continued to experience strong demand and now expects comparable sales in the second quarter of fiscal 2020 to be at the high end of its previously communicated guidance of a mid-to-high twenties percentage increase.