Earlier this week, Fool readers were treated to two opposing views of BJ'sWholesale Club
What really got my attention about Stephen's piece was his observation that his local BJ's (in North Carolina) trounced what around here in Northern Virginia is considered the Cadillac of wholesalers: Costco
All told, in the space of 72 hours, we've compiled anecdotal evidence on six separate BJ's stores, running the length of the East Coast (BJ's main area of operation) from Florida in the South to Massachusetts in the North. That's six out of BJ's total 150 stores, or a sampling of 4% of the company's chain -- which, as any pollster trying to gauge the popularity of a presidential candidate or the likelihood of passing Social Security reform can tell you, is a huge percentage.
What we've learned from this, which is to say, what we've learned from you, our loyal Fool readers, is that roughly 50% of BJ's stores are rated as abysmal, and 50% are rated excellent -- on a par with or better than the local Costcos and Wal-Mart
That's a serious enough concern in and of itself. But when you consider Stephen's observation that BJ's intends to increase its store count in the coming year, it becomes especially worrisome. Investors in this company need to consider whether, in increasing the number of its stores, BJ's will increase sales and profits -- or just further weaken a system that is already showing signs of logistical strain.
And yes, I did say we've learned three things this week. The third revelation is how truly useful our community of Fools can be when working together to not just understand "how this stock thing works" but also to keep tabs on our companies and share information across our community. For helping us accomplish that, dear Fools, we thank you.
In case you missed them, read the first two parts of this series of BJ's checkups here:
Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no shares of any company mentioned in this article.