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BJ’s looks for trade-up/trade-down opportunities

Natick, Mass. – BJ’s Wholesale Club’s plan this year for general merchandise is to upgrade assortments, qualities and brands while sharpening its price levels so that members can trade up – or down, executives said during an analyst call today.
“For example, in domestics, members now have the option of trading up to 1,000 thread count sheets for $79 or trading down to a complete bed-in-a-bag set for $100,” said Michael Wedge, president and ceo. “And both items are selling very well.”
He noted that former Macy’s Home merchant Rick Wilson, who joined the company last year as senior vp of general merchandising, has made “meaningful contributions to category assortments and presentations.”
Across the store, private label penetration grew to 12% last year, up from 9% in 2004. The company expects private label to account for 20% of sales in the next five years, Wedge said. It will also continue to step up global sourcing, he said.

BJ’s  reported 2005 adjusted net income per share of  $1.83, up about 10% from $1.67 per share a year earlier. For the fourth quarter, BJ’s said earnings rose 13% to $51.6 million or $0.76 per share over the same period a year ago.

Total 2005 sales rose 7.8% to $7.8 billion; fourth quarter revenue was up 5.0% to $2.1 billion. Comp store gains were 3.6% for the year, 1.7% for the quarter.

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