Retailers

BJ’s Innovation Lab on the Horizon

Retailer announces 4 new stores, comparable club sales increase of 6.5% for fiscal 2021
Photograph: Shutterstock

As part of the first phase of its 2022 development plans, BJ's Wholesale Club announced March 3 it is opening four new clubs, including an innovation lab for testing out new assortments, displays, product demonstrations and convenience initiatives. The same day, BJ’s announced its fourth-quarter and fiscal 2021 results.   

The new cubs will be located in Warwick, R.I., Lady Lake, Fla., Canton, Mich., and Greenburgh, N.Y., with the Warwick club serving as the innovation lab under the BJ’s Market name.

The clubs in Florida, Michigan and New York will feature an extensive selection of fresh foods; a full-service deli; and household essentials such as paper products, cleaning products, diapers, pet supplies and more. The clubs will also offer an assortment of fashion for the family, seasonal items, toys, tech and local products.

“We continue to accelerate our expansion and we’re excited to open these new locations,” said Bill Werner, EVP of strategy and development for Westborough, Mass.-based BJ’s. “We’re always looking for ways to bring the value and convenience of a BJ’s membership to more shoppers, and extending our reach is a major way of achieving that.”

BJ’s also announced March 3 that total comparable club sales increased by 8.8%, reflecting two-year stacked comp of 21.8%, for fourth-quarter fiscal 2021, which ended Jan. 29. Excluding the impact of gasoline sales, comparable club sales for the quarter increased by 0.9%.

For the full year, comparable club sales increased by 6.5%, for a two-year stacked comp increase of 22.4%. Excluding gasoline sales, comparable club sales decreased by 0.5% in fiscal 2021, reflecting a two-year stacked comp increase of 20.8%.

"2021 was the best year in the company’s history. Our strong financial results were underpinned by continued membership base expansion, a growing digital business and significant progress on key initiatives such as our real estate pipeline,” said Bob Eddy, president and CEO of BJ’s. “We remain focused on our strategic priorities to drive long-term growth: attracting and retaining high-quality members, delivering value, improving convenience through our digital offerings and expanding our footprint. The future of our company is bright.”

Gross profit for fourth-quarter 2021 was $797.2 million, vs. $742.6 million in fourth-quarter 2020, BJ’s report. For the full year, gross profit increased to $3,078.7 million from $2,979 million in fiscal 2020.

In fiscal 2022, the company expects merchandise comparable club sales to increase in the low-single digit range; net sales to increase in the mid-single digit range; and membership fee income to grow in the mid-single digit range. It also projects merchandise margins to remain flat year over year.

“There continue to be several unknowns that make for significant variability as we look to frame guidance for the coming year. Among the most significant are headwinds that could materialize as we anniversary unprecedented levels of government aid and stimulus efforts. As an offset on the top line, we’re experiencing some of the highest levels of inflation that we’ve seen in several decades,” said Laura Felice, EVP and CFO of BJ’s.

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