FINANCE

CVS Q4 profit declines 2%

BY CSA STAFF

Woonsocket, R.I. — CVS Caremark Corp. reported Thursday that profit for the fourth quarter fell 2%. The company cited client losses and fewer Medicare prescription drug program members for the lackluster performance.

Net income declined to $1.03 billion, compared with $1.05 billion in the year-ago period. Revenue fell 4% to $24.77 billion. Wall Street expected $24.98 billion in revenue.

For the full year, the company’s net income fell to $3.44 billion, compared with $3.71 billion in the year before. Revenue fell to $96.41 billion from $98.73 billion.

Competitor Walgreen Co. reported Thursday that its January same-store sales rose 6.1%, surpassing Wall Street expectations of a 3.4% rise. Total sales during the month grew 11.3%.

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FINANCE

BJ’s Wholesale to explore sale of company

BY CSA STAFF

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.

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BJ’s Wholesale placed on sales block

BY CSA STAFF

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%.

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