FINANCE

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

BY CSA STAFF

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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FINANCE

Family Dollar profit up nearly 10%, 300 stores on tap for 2011

BY CSA STAFF

Matthews, N.C. — Family Dollar Stores said Wednesday that its fiscal first-quarter profit climbed 9.9% on strong candy and food sales and higher customer traffic. The discounter said it will open approximately 300 new stores in fiscal 2011.

Family Dollar reported net income of $74.3 million for the period ended Nov. 27, up from $67.6 million a year ago. Its results, however, were short of analysts expectations, with the disappointing profit attributed primarily due to lower gross margins and higher freight costs.

Revenue increased 9.5% to $2 billion, with double-digit sales increases in candy and food. Same-store sales rose 6.9%.

"Our comparable store sales increase of 6.9% is the best first quarter result we’ve delivered in more than twelve years," said Howard R. Levine, chairman and CEO.

Family Dollar said first-quarter traffic improved but average transaction value was essentially flat.

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FINANCE

Walgreens December sales up 7.5%

BY CSA STAFF

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens reported on Wednesday that its December sales rose 7.5% to $6.8 billion. The chain said that Duane Reade stores, which Walgreens acquired in April 2010, contributed 2.5 percentage points.

Walgreens’ same-store sales for the month rose 2.8%

The company said front-end sales were up 9.5%. Pharmacy sales, which accounted for 58.6% of total sales for the month, saw a 6% boost.

During the month of December, Walgreens opened three stores, including one relocation, and acquired three stores.

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