COLUMBUS, OHIO — Big Lots, Inc., North America’s largest broad line closeout retailer operating 1,491 stores in 48 states, is expanding its food offerings. The retailer, which earlier this year signed on to become the official “thrift store outlet” for Hostess Brands, L.L.C., now will feature more brand name products, as well as improved product arrangement and signs to make shopping easier.

According to Big Lots, the retailer’s food department will continue to have a “significant” closeout presence, but the company is doubling its everyday selection of brands. New brands that now may be found at Big Lots include: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Mike & Ike, Life Savers, Nutella, Miracle Whip, A.1. Sauce, Velveeta, Smucker’s, Duncan Hines and Pillsbury.

“Our business has always been based on the needs of our customer (nicknamed “Jennifer”), and bringing her amazing values on great brands and products she loves,” said Andy Stein, chief customer officer. “This is just another way we are building on our promise of surprises in every aisle, every day.”

The international food assortment also has grown in both size and scope. Now called World Flavors, it is a more diverse set of products and brands, Big Lots said. Each store now will carry a selection of European, Hispanic and Asian foods.

“This expansion helps our customer find more of her favorite items and brands when shopping the Big Lots food department,” said Trey Johnson, senior vice-president and general merchandise manager. “Shoppers will appreciate the new look, easy navigation and the expanded variety of products at amazing values. These new changes allow ‘Jennifer’ to find more of what she needs at the exceptional values that she expects when shopping at Big Lots.”

In a June 26 corporate analysts meeting, Rich Chene, executive vice-president and chief merchandising officer, said food accounts for approximately 30% of Big Lots total business. At that time, he pointed out one of the elements of Big Lots “Edit to Amplify” strategy would be to give more real estate to food and consumables.

“We have done some good category gap analysis,” Mr. Chene said. “Because of our strong relationship with the vendors, they have been very good with information. We actually ran a test in 2013 on the urban stores to understand what items, and from that we have made decisions on what branded product as well as what private label product is going to be expanded in our stores. And this, again, is all part of the benefit of something called ‘Edit to Amplify.’”