Strong food sales help drive up BJ's comps in Q1

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — BJ’s Wholesale Club reported net income of $33.7 million, or 62 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter ended April 30. Results for the first quarter of 2011 exceeded the company’s guidance for net income in the range of $29.5 million to $31.5 million, or 54 cents to 58 cents per diluted share.

BJ’s president and CEO, Laura Sen, said, “BJ’s is off to a great start in 2011. Our stronger than expected performance for the first three months of 2011 reflects net sales above plan, continued margin expansion and excellent cost control. I am very proud of our team members in the field, distribution centers and home office for delivering another great quarter.”

Net sales for the first quarter of 2011 increased by 10% to $2.77 billion and comparable-club sales increased by 6.3%, including a contribution from gasoline sales of 3.9%. Merchandise comparable-club sales excluding gasoline increased by 2.4%.

Departments with the strongest comparable-club sales increases included bakery, dairy, deli, frozen, health & wellness, meat, milk, prepared foods, produce and small appliances. Weaker departments versus last year included apparel, books, cigarettes, diapers, prerecorded video and televisions.

For the year ending Jan. 28, 2012, the company now expects to report net income in the range of $147 million to $157 million, and earnings per diluted share in the range of $2.68 to $2.88. For the second quarter ending July 30, the company expects to report net income in the range of $40.5 million to $42.5 million and earnings per diluted share in the range of 74 cents to 78 cents.