BJ's margin slide pinches earnings
December 1, 2003,
A 21 percent increase in selling, general and administrative expenses helped topple net income for BJ's Wholesale Club in the third quarter. The warehouse club's net finished the quarter at $20.4 million, off nearly 13 percent from a year ago.
Third-quarter sales were $1.6 billion, a healthy 18 percent ahead of last year's third quarter. Same-store sales performed well, too, growing 11.3 percent in the quarter just ended. Operating income dropped by more than 20 percent, however, to $32.5 million. Average gross margin fell by 90 basis points, to a meager 9.7 percent.
For the year to date, BJ's net income fell by nearly 35 percent, to $53.6 million, on top of $4.8 billion in sales or almost 16 percent more than in the first three quarters of 2002. Operating income plummeted by more than 37 percent, to $87.9 million.
As dreary as these results appear, Mike Wedge, BJ's president and chief executive officer, still found an up side to this report. Wedge noted that the 29 cents per share the company earned in the third quarter was ahead of the 24 cents to 28 cents projection the company announced in October.
BJ's Wholesale Club Inc.
|Qtr. 11/1 (x000)||2003||2002||% chg|
|Earnings per share||0.29||0.33||-12.1|
|Average gross margin||9.7%||10.6%||—|
|Nine months||2003||2002||% chg|
|Earnings per share||0.77||1.15||-33.0|
|Average gross margin||9.6%||10.9%||—|