Digital Sales Soar 300% at BJ's Wholesale

Gina Acosta, Progressive Grocer
Profit at BJ's increased by 96.5% year-over-year to $106.7 million, a record increase for the company.

BJ’s Wholesale Club's sales and profit surged in the second quarter as members stocked up on groceries, mostly online, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Profit at BJ's increased by 96.5% year-over-year to $106.7 million, a record increase for the company. Same-store sales, excluding fuel, increased by 24.2%, including digitally enabled sales growth of over 300% for the second quarter ended Aug. 1. BJ's Wholesale posted adjusted EPS of 77 cents, reflecting 97.4% year-over-year growth. The operator of warehouse clubs also said its membership fee income increased 10.4%.

“We continue to be extremely grateful for the dedication of our team members, who have exemplified our core values and continue to serve our members and communities during these difficult times” said Lee Delaney, president and CEO, BJ’s Wholesale Club. "We delivered another remarkable quarter with strong comp growth and record profitability. Our business has been transformed and strengthened in the last six months by every measure. We are extremely well positioned to continue to win as we invest in digital capabilities, membership, assortment, marketing and geographic expansion to further accelerate this transformation."

The pandemic has been a catalyst for transformation at BJ's Wholesale as it refreshes its assortments and expands its digital capabilities. So far those investments are resonating deeply with 2020 grocery shoppers. BJ's rival Costco doesn't offer curbside pickup.

BJ's said its improved profitability and sales performance in the company’s business were partially offset by rising commodity costs, mostly beef, and expenses related to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Same-store sales for the first half of fiscal 2020 (excluding fuel) increased 25.6% compared to the first half of fiscal 2019. And gross profit increased to $756.4 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2020 from $612.8 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2019. The company said it has invested $31.4 million and $82.7 million in wages and bonuses, quarter to date and year to date, respectively.

BJ's did not provide a financial outlook for the third quarter or the rest of the fiscal year.

Westborough, Mass.-based BJ's Wholesale Club operates 219 clubs and 148 BJ's Gas locations in 17 states. The company is No. 27 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2020 list of the top food retailers in North America.

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