BJ’s Wholesale to explore sale of company
Natick, Mass. — BJ’s Wholesale Club confirmed on Thursday that it will potentially put it up for sale.
According to a report by the New York Times, the discounter said it will “explore and evaluate strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company,” confirming ongoing market rumors that BJ’s was a buyout candidate.
The report said that BJ’s has hired Morgan Stanley to run the sales process.
Private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners acquired a 9.5% stake in the retailer last July. In January, BJ’s announced it would close five underperforming stores.
BJ’s Wholesale placed on sales block
WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — After months of speculation, BJ’s Wholesale Club early Thursday morning confirmed the company has decided to explore and evaluate strategic alternatives. Coupled with that announcement was a positive sales story for the year.
BJ’s stock was up by more than $5 to $48.66 in early morning trading on Thursday. Over the last year, the company’s shares have risen about 30%, fueled in part by takeover speculation. Rumors that BJ’s may be a takeover target have circulated since the summer, when Leonard Green & Partners bought a 9.5% stake.
An independent committee of BJ’s has engaged Morgan Stanley as its financial adviser to assist in this process.
BJ’s also reported positive January sales results despite the number of cold-weather storms that recently have swept the country. Sales were up 6.5% to $779.8 million. Comparable sales also were up 2.7%, including a contribution from sales of gasoline of 2.4%.
Excluding the impact of gasoline, merchandise comparable-club sales increased by approximately 0.3%. Severe snow storms affecting the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions had a negative impact on merchandise comparable club sales of approximately 2.5%, the club retailer estimated.
BJ’s competitor Costco Wholesale reported net sales of $6.30 billion for the month of January, the four weeks ended Jan. 30, an increase of 12% from $5.62 billion during the similar period last year. Total U.S. same-store sales for the month were up 6%. Excluding fuel, U.S. comps rose 4%.
Burlington Coat Factory 4Q comps up 1.2%
BURLINGTON, N.J.— Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp. announced that net sales for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 29, 2011 were $1.188 billion compared with $1.12 billion for the comparative period ended Jan. 30, 2010, a 6.1% increase. Comparative-store sales increased 1.2% for the quarter.
Tom Kingsbury, Chief Executive Officer, stated, “I am pleased that we were able to produce a positive comparative-store increase in the fourth quarter as temperatures returned to normal seasonal levels. I would like to thank our store and corporate teams for their hard work during this all important period. In addition, I would like to thank our vendor community for their outstanding support and involvement. As we enter 2011, we remain focused on continuing to execute on our top three priorities: merchandise content, the store experience and receipt management.”