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    BJ’s Q1 Exceeds Expectations

    Net income, net sales and comps are all up

    BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. posted net income of $33.7 million, or 62 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter ended April 30. Results for quarter exceeded the company’s guidance for net income in the range of $29.5 million to $31.5 million, or 54 cents to 58 cents per diluted share.

    “BJ’s is off to a great start in 2011,” noted Laura Sen, president and CEO of the Westborough, Mass.-based warehouse club retailer, which operates 190 clubs in 15 states. “Our stronger than expected performance for the first three months of 2011 reflects net sales above plan, continued margin expansion and excellent cost control.”

    The company said that net sales for the first quarter of 2011 grew 10.0 percent to $2.77 billion and comparable-club sales rose 6.3 percent, including a contribution from gasoline sales of 3.9 percent. Merchandise comps, excluding gasoline, went up 2.4 percent.

    Excluding the impact of gas, member traffic increased by about 2 percent, and the average transaction amount grew by around 1 percent, according to BJ’s.

    Food sales rose by about 4 percent, on top of a 6 percent increase in the year-ago period, driven mainly by 8 percent growth in perishable foods, the company noted On a two-year basis, perishable food comps were up by around 16 percent. However, general merchandise sales dipped by about 1 percent for the first quarter, compared with an approximately 1 percent increase last year.

    According to BJ’s, the departments with the strongest comps increases included bakery, dairy, deli, frozen, health and wellness, meat, milk, prepared foods, produce and small appliances, while among the weaker departments vs.  last year were apparel, books, cigarettes, diapers, prerecorded video and televisions.

    For the year ending Jan. 28, 2012, the company now expects to post net income in the range of $147 million to $157 million, and earnings per diluted share in the range of $2.68 to $2.88. For the second quarter ending July 30, 2011, BJ’s anticipates reporting net income in the range of $40.5 million to $42.5 million, and earnings per diluted share in the range of 74 cents to 78 cents.

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