Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) has seen its share price climb more than 11% in Monday trading after issuing a press release detailing positive same-store sales gains for fiscal April and overall sales growth during the first quarter of 2020. Outpacing the company's expectations, comparable sales rose both in-store and online according to the release, prompting the chain to extend employee bonuses and discounts offered both to its workers and emergency personnel.

Like many other retailers, Big Lots has adopted multiple measures at its distribution centers and stores to combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus among its workers and shoppers. These include supplying face masks and gloves to employees in "high-risk areas," setting up sneeze shields at store checkouts, and curbing the number of customers allowed into its locations at one time.

An increasing bar graph next to a large blue "2020"

Image source: Getty Images.

President and CEO Bruce Thorn credits the success of these measures for enabling the retailer to keep all of its outlets open as essential businesses throughout the viral outbreak, creating a "safe and healthy environment" and ensuring business continuity. Thorn also remarked, "I could not be prouder of how our team, at every level, has responded to the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 crisis."

With sales accelerating strongly over the past two weeks and same-store sales rising year over year for both April and 2020's first quarter, the company opted to prolong the temporary $2-per-hour wage boost for both its distribution center and retail workers through May 31. It also decided to extend its 30% employee discount and its 15% "heroes discount" for healthcare workers, first responders, commercial drivers, veterans, and active members of the military through the end of May.

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