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Cecile Corral

BJ's sees sales grown, comps turnaround in 2Q

Operates 189 clubs in 15 North Atlantic states

Natick, Mass. - BJ's Wholesale Club positively reversed its comparable club sales results in its second quarter, compared to last year when the regional chain reported high single-digit negative comps, and also saw its sales grow considerably in the period.
BJ's, which operates 189 clubs in 15 North Atlantic states, experienced an 8.6% increase in it total sales for the second quarter, ended July 31, to $2.7 billion from $2.5 billion in last year's same period.
Comparable club sales increased by 4.4%, including a 1.5% contribution from gasoline sales. Excluding the impact of gasoline, merchandise comparable club sales increased by 2.9%. By comparison, the company last year reported a comparable club sales decrease of 7.7%, including a negative impact from sales of gasoline of 10.6%. Excluding the impact of gasoline, merchandise comparable club sales for the second quarter of 2009 increased by 2.9%.
"Comparable club sales for the second quarter reflected continued strong execution of our strategy to win more of our members' weekly food and consumables spending," explained Laura Sen, president and ceo. "I am pleased to say that recent Nielsen data makes it abundantly clear that we are continuing to grow our market share."
Comp sales of food increased by 5%, followed by a 6% in last year's second quarter, she added. And on the general merchandise side of BJ's business, comp sales increases in patio sets, air conditioners, seasonal goods, ladies apparel, housewares, small appliances, tires, and toys "helped offset weaker trends in non-edible consumables and significant decrease in sales of televisions," Sen said.
Net income for the second quarter was $35.8 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, compared to net income of $35.1 million, or $0.64 per diluted share in last year's same period.
For the year to date, sales jumped by 10.6% to $5.3 billion from $4.8 billion in the first half of 2009. And net income for the 26-week period was $61.9 million, or $1.16 per diluted share, versus $59.4 million, or $1.09 per diluted share last year.
Based on these strong recent results, BJ's has updated its earnings guidance for the ful fiscal year.
For the full year, ending January 29, 2011, the company now expects to report net income in the range of $128.5 to $134.5 million, and diluted earnings per share in the range of $2.40 to $2.50. Previous guidance - which BJ's provided on May 19 - called for net income in the range of $136.9 million to $141.9 million, and diluted earnings per share in the range of $2.58 to $2.68.
The company also now expects to report an increase in net sales of 8.0% to 10.0% and an increase in comparable club sales of 4.0% to 6.0%, including a contribution from gasoline sales of 0.5% to 2.5%. Merchandise comparable club sales excluding gasoline are expected to increase 2.5% to 4.5%. Previous sales guidance was for an increase in net sales of 9.2% to 11.2%, and an increase in comparable club sales of 4.0% to 6.0%, including a positive contribution from gasoline sales of 0.5% to 2.5%. Merchandise comparable club sales excluding gasoline were expected to increase 2.7% to 4.7%.
On the real estate front, BJ's also made updates. The chain now plans to opening nine new clubs - one more than originally planned - before the end of its current fiscal year. This includes one relocated store.
Of these new sites, three will be made in the company's new 85,000-square-foot prototype; the other six will measure the traditional 120,000-square-foot size.
Sen described the new prototype as "a promising new growth vehicle for us."
Additionally, BJ's plans to renovate 21 existing clubs by fiscal end.

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