NATICK, Mass. — BJ's Wholesale Club here is anticipating comparable-store sales increases of 5%-7% this year — after gains of 6.4% in 2008 — with groceries and perishables leading the way, Laura J. Sen, president and chief operating officer, said yesterday in a conference call discussing results for the recently ended fiscal year.
“That guidance reflects the fact we still have plenty of merchandising and operational opportunities available that can generate sales growth,” she said. “In the month of February, for example, our merchandise comp increased 8.2% in spite of all the economic and deflationary pressures out there.”
The anticipated comp sales gains are likely to come “at the cost of flat margin,” she pointed out. “But we're operating the business for the long term, and we believe the market-share gains we make during the troubled economy will endure when the economy improves.”
For the year, which ended Jan. 31, net income at BJ’s rose 9.5% to $134.6 million, while sales increased 11.2% to $10 billion. Comparable-store sales rose 9.4% — including the 6.4% rise in merchandise comps, which excludes gasoline. For the fourth quarter net income was up 4.8% to $52.7 million, while sales increased 3.2% to $2.5 billion and comps rose 1.7%, including a 6.4% gain — the same as for the full year — in merchandise comps, excluding gasoline.
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