BJ's lifts outlook despite low April sales
NATICK - BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. said yesterday that its same-store sales fell in April, but the discount warehouse club company raised its forecast for the year citing sales of more profitable items in the first quarter.
BJ's said same-store sales fell 4.9 percent, although excluding a 10.4 percent decline in gasoline sales, same-store sales were up 5.5 percent. Analysts were expecting a smaller decline of 1.4 percent, said Thomson Reuters - or a gain of 7.5 percent excluding gas sales.
Same-store sales, or sales at locations open at least one year, are considered a key measurement of retailer health because they show performance at older stores rather than newly opened ones.
The company said the later Easter holiday, which lead to one less shopping day, reduced its same-store sales by 2 to 2.5 percent. In the four-week period ended May 2, its total sales fell 3 percent, to $719 million from $743.1 million.
BJ's said merchandise sales and profit margins were greater than expected. It raised its first-quarter profit estimate to 41 cents to 45 cents per share, and for the year ending Jan. 30, it now expects to earn $2.42 to $2.52 per share.