BJ’s closing five locations, restructuring home office and select field ops

Natick, Mass. -- BJ’s Wholesale Club said Wednesday that its December same-store sales rose 3.8% and would have been up 1.4%, excluding the impact of gasoline sales. The results were short of analysts expectations. Separately, the company said it is shutting five underperforming locations by the end of January. as well as restructuring its home office and certain field operations. It is cutting 114 corporate-level jobs, 61 of them at the company's headquarters and 53 field positions.

The chain said it will close three locations in the Atlanta market, one in Sunrise, Fla., and one in Charlotte, N.C.

“The five clubs to be closed have historically underperformed and, after careful consideration, we concluded that improvement of their operating results was unlikely,” said Laura J. Sen, CEO, BJ’s Wholesale Club. “The savings associated with the actions we are announcing today will be invested in new clubs, remodels, and information technology, all of which are vital to our competitiveness, future growth and profitability. We remain committed to the Atlanta, Charlotte and South Florida markets and will look to expand in those markets if compelling opportunities present themselves.”

BJ’s estimated that, taken together, the total charges associated with its announcements will be between $42 million and $44 million after-tax in the fiscal fourth quarter ending Jan. 29.

The company said sales in the week five declined because of the snowstorm in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. Sales increased in all major regions, except the Metro New York section where the winter storm had the biggest impact, BJ's said.

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