BJ’s is getting a warm welcome from Wall Street even as it continues to be a laggard in the highly competitive warehouse club market.
Shares of BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. rallied more than 29 percent to $22 on Thursday as it returns to the public markets after seven years. The company’s initial public offering priced at the top of an expected range of $15 to $17 a share.
BJ’s return comes as it’s contending with a different retail landscape than it wrestled with when it first bowed out of the public market.
Costco Wholesale Corp., which now operates about 750 locations, has continued to thrive and expand even in the age of Amazon. It has created fierce loyalty among high-income customers with its treasure hunt experience and its powerful store label brand called Kirkland. Sales at Costco stores opened at least a year, including gas, rose 4.1 percent in the most recent fiscal year ended Sept. 3, 2017.
Meanwhile, Walmart’s Sam’s Club, hurt by weaker locations in less affluent areas than Costco’s, has seen improving sales as it overhauls its merchandise and expands services. In January, it said it was closing 63 clubs, or 10 percent of its fleet, and converting some of them into e-commerce fulfillment centers. In February, Sam’s Club began offering free shipping for premium members and simplifying its membership tiers. Revenue at stores opened at least a year including gas rose 3 percent for the year ended Jan. 31.