Wholesale Club BJ, Inc. beat analysts’ expectations to post higher revenue and earnings in its first quarter. In a period of record food inflation, the bulk discounter generated $4.5 billion in total revenue, ahead of the Wall Street consensus projection of $4.24 billion.
Earnings per share (EPS) was also higher than expected, coming in at $0.82 versus $0.72 estimated, up 39% from the same period last year. Total comparable club sales were in the black, up 14.4% year-on-year, while non-petrol comps rose 4.1% over the same period. Adjusted EBITA of $220.8 million was 9.1% higher in April compared to April 2021. Boding well for its digital presence, sales growth through digital soared 26% year-over-year.
“Our first quarter performance was strong, as gains in member traffic underscored the value we offer. Our business model remains more relevant than ever in the current inflationary environment,” said Bob Eddy, President and CEO.
As shoppers become more cost-conscious at a time of rising CPIs across many food categories, BJs said company membership grew to 6.5 million in the first quarter. “Our membership statistics are as strong as any I’ve seen in my history with the company,” Eddy said on an earnings conference call. “We have reached this milestone ahead of schedule, thanks to a combination of strong renewals, as well as member acquisition linked to the growth of new clubs.”
In the call, Eddy said competitive gasoline prices have been a draw to members and have helped store sales. “The current consumption environment in the gasoline industry has resulted in a continued increase in comp gallons up 23% over last year, and up 51% on a two-year basis. This dramatic increase in market share and the rapid increase in gas prices during the first quarter has driven traffic to our clubs as members continue to recognize the value of their BJ membership,” he said. -he explains.
BJ’s business also to fill in the highlights of the recently concluded fiscal first quarter. The company said it has completed the acquisition of four distribution centers and related fleets from Burris Logistics to bring its end-to-end perishable supply chain into the home. The retailer is expanding its footprint, too, opening three clubs in early 2022.
Looking ahead, BJ’s reiterated its outlook for the full year of flat EPS year-over-year.
In addition to its member warehouse clubs, Westborough, Mass.-based BJ’s operates 159 BJ’s Gas locations in 17 states. The company’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. BJ’s is #26 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of top food and consumables retailers in North America.