BJ's earnings up, but just barely
March 8, 2004,
NATICK, MASS. — With weaker margins and rising costs offsetting a double-digit gain in sales, BJ's Wholesale Club Inc., a Northeast no-frills retailer, pushed fourth-quarter earnings up a skimpy 1.5 percent, to $49.2 million from $48.5 million last year.
Taking a bite out of the bottom line, average gross margin contracted by 20 basis points, or two-tenths of a percentage point, to 9.5 percent from 9.7 percent the preceding year. In another drag on earnings, costs climbed higher by 40 basis points, or four-tenths of a percentage point, to 7.3 percent of sales from 6.9 percent a year ago. Measured in absolute dollars, costs shot up by 19.5 percent, far outpacing the 12.6 percent increase in sales, to $138.8 million from $116.2 million last year.
For all of last year, net income fell by 21.4 percent, to $102.9 million from $130.9 million. Sales for all of last year rose by 14.9 percent, to $6.6 billion from $5.7 billion, and same-store sales rose by 7.8 percent.
B.J.'s Wholesale Club Inc.
|Qtr. 1/31 (x000)||2003||2002||% chg|
|a-Net sales, excluding membership fees of $36.1 million, up 6.5 percent from$33.8 million last year. For all of 2003, membership fees of $139.4 million rose 6.6 percent from $130.7 million.
b-Third-quarter results include interest income of $48,000, compared with $23,000 in interest expense last year; a $2.5 million gain on contingent lease obligations, vs. a $574,000 loss a year ago; and a $154,000 loss from discontinued operations, compared with a $707,000 year-before loss.
c-12-month results include $74,000 in interest expense, compared with $293,000 in interest income the prior year; a $4.5 million gain on contingent lease obligations vs. a $15.6 million gain a year ago; a $676,000 loss from discontinued operations, compared with a $14.9 million loss in 2002; and a $1.3 million loss stemming from a change in accounting.
|Oper. income (EBIT)||76,387||80,746||-5.4|
|Per share (diluted)||0.70||0.70||0.0|
|Average gross margin||9.5||9.7||--|
|12 months||2003||2002||% chg|
|Oper. income (EBIT)||172,574||231,515||-25.5|
|Per share (diluted)||1.47||1.84||-20.1|