This week, most retailers should have been singing the blues. Yet the spotlight on Wal-Mart's
We shouldn't be too surprised. Even when the rest of retail is in a slump, warehouse clubs seem to find a way to push volume. The company reported September sales up 8.6%, with comparable-store sales notching a 3.9% gain. Those comp results are a full point above BJ's YTD trend and may be an indication of a solid holiday season to come. The news comes just a day after Costco
In the release, BJ's noted that sales grew in all five weeks during September, and in every geographic region for the month. Food was what customers were buying -- up 6%. Transactions in comparable stores were down 1%, but an average ticket was higher by 5%. In addition to good food sales, the company reported more appliances, televisions, and toys hopping into shopping carts.
Now I'm not ready to jump into BJ's stock with both feet. I've never been able to rationalize why I should be a holder of the No. 3 chain (on sales per store, operating margin, and virtually every other metric that counts) -- in an industry that has only three chains. The CAPS community agrees with my view.
On the other hand, BJ's appears to be making real progress after some messy results last year -- and buyout rumors (while subsiding a bit in recent months) are still hovering around the stock. Recent sales results suggest BJ's will get its share of shoppers this holiday season. I'd be waiting until I saw a warehouse club-type deal on this company's stock price.
For other opinions on BJ's, check:
Motley Fool contributor Timothy M. Otte surveys the retail scene from Dallas. He welcomes comments on his articles, and owns shares of Wal-Mart, but none of the other companies mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.