BJ’s Posts Strong Quarter, Raises Guidance for Year

Stock in BJ’s Wholesale Club was down Wednesday after the club retailer reported robust first-quarter sales and earnings but a modest forecast for the balance of the year.

NATICK, Mass. — Stock in BJ’s Wholesale Club was down Wednesday after the club retailer here reported robust first-quarter sales and earnings but a modest forecast for the balance of the year. BJ’s earned $17.2 million, or 29 cents per share, during the first quarter ended May 3, a 26% increase over the same period a year ago. Quarterly sales of $2.3 billion increased 12.3% in the quarter, with comparable-store sales increasing by 9.6%, or 5.7% excluding gasoline, with food comps up 8% and perishable food up 10%. The results — including a 3% increase in store traffic, BJ’s best gain in that metric in four years — prompted the retailer to raise its yearly financial guidance, but only modestly, by 6 cents a share to a range of $2.04 to $2.14. The guidance includes 4 cents per share improvement achieved in the first quarter. “We think we are going to do very well, all things considered,” Herb Zarkin, chief executive officer, said in a conference call with analysts Wednesday. “But who knows what is going to happen out there.”

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