BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. BJ reported third-quarter fiscal 2022 results, with the top and the bottom line beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate and improving year over year. This operator of membership warehouse clubs registered robust growth in total comparable club sales. The better-than-expected results encouraged management to lift the fiscal 2022 view.
Sturdy membership trends, assortment initiatives, enhanced digital capabilities and a robust real estate pipeline aided the company’s performance. Management remains optimistic about the business, given the sustained strength in the grocery business.
BJ’s Wholesale Club reported adjusted earnings of 99 cents a share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 83 cents. The quarterly earnings increased 8.8% from 91 cents in the year-ago quarter.
The company generated total revenues of $4,785.3 million, which surged 12.2% from the year-ago quarter’s levels and surpassed the consensus mark of $4,697 million. Net sales moved up 12.3% to $4,685.8 million, while the membership fee income jumped 8.7% to $99.5 million.
Total comparable club sales during the quarter under discussion jumped 9.7% year over year. Excluding the impact of gasoline sales, comparable club sales rose 5.3%, driven by traffic and basket growth. Comps in the grocery, perishables and sundries division grew 6% in the quarter. Meanwhile, general merchandise and services division comps increased 3%.
We note that digitally enabled sales rose 43% during the quarter as members continued to take the benefits of services, such as Buy Online Pickup In-Club and curbside pickup.
BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. Quote
A Look at Margins
In the third quarter, the gross profit rose to $877.1 million from $791.2 million in the year-ago period. The merchandise gross margin rate, which excludes gasoline sales and membership fee income, contracted 30 basis points from the year-ago quarter’s level. Higher supply-chain costs and investments in inflationary categories hurt merchandise margins.
The operating income increased 12.8% to $192 million, while the operating margin remained flat at 4%. We note that adjusted EBITDA climbed 19.2% to $272.3 million during the quarter, while the adjusted EBITDA margin increased 30 basis points to 5.7%.
SG&A expenses rose 9.1% to $674.4 million from the year-ago quarter. This reflects higher labor and occupancy costs due to new club and gas station openings, as well as incremental costs related to the transition of the company’s new home office. As a percentage of total revenues, SG&A expenses shrunk 40 basis points to 14.1%.
BJ’s Wholesale Club ended the reported quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $34.6 million. The long-term debt amounted to $600.1 million, while stockholders’ equity was $942.9 million. The company lowered its outstanding debt by $154.3 million from the preceding quarter, maintaining a net debt to last twelve-month adjusted EBITDA ratio of 0.9.
Net cash provided by operating activities during the 39-week period ended on Oct 29, 2022 was $616.1 million. Cash from operating activities and free cash flow were $173.1 million and $78.7 million, respectively, during the quarter.
As part of its share repurchase program, the company bought back 684,819 shares worth $50.1 million in the third quarter. BJ’s Wholesale Club opened three new clubs in the third quarter.
Management now envisions fiscal 2022 comparable club sales, excluding the impact of gasoline sales, to increase between 5% and 5.5%, up from the prior view of 4-5% growth. It foresees comparable club sales, excluding the impact of gasoline sales, in the band of 4%-5% for the fourth quarter.
BJ’s Wholesale Club now foresees full-year earnings in the band of $3.70-$3.80 per share, up from its earlier estimate in the range of $3.50-$3.60 per share. However, the company expects continued merchandise margin rate pressure.
This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has advanced 28.9% in the past six months compared with the industry’s rise of 6.5%.
3 Stocks Hogging the Limelight
Here we have highlighted three better-ranked stocks, namely Crocs CROX, Chipotle Mexican Grill CMG and Dollar General DG.
Crocs, a leader in innovative casual footwear for women, men and children, carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). CROX has an expected EPS growth rate of 15% for three to five years. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Crocs’ current financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 51.5% and 23.7%, respectively, from the year-ago period. CROX has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 18.2%, on average.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, an operator of fast-casual restaurants, currently carries a Zacks Rank #2. The expected EPS growth rate for three to five years is 23.4%.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Chipotle Mexican Grill’s current financial-year revenues and EPS suggests growth of 15.1% and 31%, respectively, from the year-ago reported figure. CMG has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 4.1%, on average.
Dollar General, a discount retailer, carries a Zacks Rank #2. The expected EPS growth rate for three to five years is 11.1%.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Dollar General’s current financial-year revenues and EPS suggests growth of 10.8% and 13.8%, respectively, from the year-ago reported figure. Dollar General has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 2.2%, on average.
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