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BJ’s profits off while sales fare well

Natick,Mass.-- BJ's Wholesale Club today reported first-quarter net income of $13.7 million, down 11.0% from $15.4 million for the same period one year ago.

Net sales rose by 7.5% to $2.0 billion from $1.9 billion; comparable club sales were up 2.3%, including a contribution from gasoline sales of 1.4% and a negative impact of 0.4% from the absence of pharmacy sales versus last year.

Excluding gasoline, traffic was down about 1% but the average transaction was up about 3%, said Frank Forward, cfo. Food, office supplies, storage were among the winning categories; residential furniture and lawn and garden were among the ‘down’ categories, Forward said.

The period was the first full quarter with current senior management in place, noted president, chairman and ceo Herb Zarkin, who was himself named ceo in March, after serving in that role on an “acting” basis since last November.

Forward said full year earnings are projected at $1.60 – $1.70 per diluted share, consistent with earlier guidance. Comps are targeted for 3% to 4% both in the second quarter and for the full year.

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