Big Lots Appoints Off-Price Retail Veterans to Leadership Team

by Katie Lee

Columbus, Ohio — Big Lots, Inc., one of America’s largest home discount retailers, has appointed two new leaders to fill roles on its senior leadership team. Experienced stores leader Kristen Cox is joining Big Lots as senior vice president, chief stores officer, and closeout merchandising leader Seth Marks is joining the company in the newly formed role of senior vice president, extreme value sourcing. Both Cox and Marks will begin in their roles on Dec. 4, 2023. 

“As we continue to make progress on the five key actions supporting our multi-year strategic plan, which includes improving store relevance and increasing our assortment of extreme bargains, it was important to us to find leaders for these positions that have extensive experience and proven track records in the world of off-price retail,” says Bruce Thorn, president and CEO of Big Lots.

“Improvement in stores execution is critical to increasing store relevance and overall performance,” Thorn adds. “With significant experience running highly productive off-price stores, where flexible branding and assortment at the store level is critical, Kristen will help drive the continuing evolution of our store base to better showcase our assortment, value offerings, and messaging. We are excited to have her join us.”

“To accelerate our progress toward owning bargains, we have created a new role to help lead our growing team of closeout buyers,” Thorn says. “Seth is a highly seasoned closeout merchant who will rejoin us after having spent time with our company earlier in his career. Seth brings almost 30 years of experience in off-price and closeout sourcing and was with Big Lots at a time when the company was the clear market leader in broadline closeout retail. He returns to Big Lots with a wealth of strategic sourcing experience, deep industry relationships and a merchandising background in extreme bargains.”

As chief stores officer, Cox will be responsible for developing and implementing operational strategies to drive sales, improve margins and enhance customer service across all stores. She fills the role left vacant by the retirement of Nick Padovano earlier this year. Cox will report directly to Thorn.

Cox is a senior retail executive with nearly three decades of experience across various areas of store operations. She joins Big Lots after spending the last 6.5 years at Burlington Stores, where she served as senior vice president of human resources for all stores and before that senior vice president of Northeast and Midwest stores. Before Burlington, Cox was executive vice president of stores for Macy’s Inc. North Central Region from 2013 to 2017, capping a total of 14 years in key leadership positions with Macy’s.

In the newly created role of senior vice president, extreme value sourcing, Marks will lead an accelerated strategic deal sourcing initiative focused on procuring outstanding products at exceptional values through unique closeout opportunities, while providing higher recoveries to sellers in need of timely inventory monetization. Marks will also report directly to Thorn.

Marks first served as vice president, merchandising at Big Lots from 2004 to 2007 and is returning to the company with a wealth of additional off-price retail experience, including liquidation, closeout and alternative sourcing relationships. He rejoins Big Lots from Channel Control Merchants, where he most recently served as the chief merchandising officer.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Big Lots, Inc. operates more than 1,420 stores in 48 states. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Big Lots, Inc.

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