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03/03/2022

BJ's follows "best year" with new locations, new store format

The wholesale retailer is planning four new locations, one of which taking on a new format called BJ's Market.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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BJ's Wholesale Club

BJ’s Wholesale Club has announced four new club openings, with one in particular taking on a new format.

First covered by Store Brands sister publication Progressive Grocer, the company, fueled by its private brand selection, will open four new clubs in Warwick, R.I.; Lady Lake, Fla.; Canton, Mich.; and Greenburgh, N.Y. The new Rhode Island club will serve as an “innovation lab” for the retailer. Named BJ’s Market, the club will allow for testing of new assortments, displays, product demonstrations and convenience initiatives. The news was announced during its latest earnings call.

“We continue to accelerate our expansion, and we’re excited to open these new locations,” said Bill Werner, EVP, strategy and development at 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.”

Each new BJ’s Wholesale Club is expected to create approximately 150 jobs for its community, while BJ’s Market will create around 50 jobs. 

BJ’s also released the financial results for its fourth quarter ended Jan. 29. Gross profit increased to $797.2 million, from $742.6 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. Merchandise gross-margin rate, which excludes gasoline sales and membership fee income, increased 10 basis points.

In a recent report from Placer.ai, BJ’s has seen growth in foot traffic on a Yo2Y basis, showing an 8.7% increase in quarterly visits in 2021 compared to 2019.

For fiscal 2021, the warehouse membership club reported that gross profit increased to $3.07 billion, from $2.97 billion in fiscal 2020. Merchandise gross-margin rate, excluding gasoline sales and membership fee income, increased by about 20 basis points over fiscal 2020. The company indicated that merchandise margins benefited from the mix of general merchandise sales, improved private label penetration and continued execution of category profitability improvement initiatives, partly offset by increased freight costs and price investments in inflationary categories.

“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.”

Westborough, Mass.-based BJ's operates 226 clubs and 157 BJ’s Gas locations in 17 states, and the company is No. 27 on ThePG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.