Wanted: Club Seeks Women for Special Relationship

Mar 05, 2003

By George Anderson

BJ’s Wholesale Club announced yesterday it plans to cut back on inventory in categories such as tools and sporting goods while focusing more on fresh foods and “up-market” women’s clothing.

The chain is seeking to capture a greater share of retail purchases made by women by concentrating its attention on those categories most attractive to female shoppers.

BJ’s chief executive, Mike Wedge, told analysts, “We are refining our positioning.”

Lazard LLC analyst Todd Slater supports BJ’s repositioning effort, “We think the company is taking the right overall approach.”

Others are less enthusiastic. The Boston Globe reported on its web site today that Laura Sen, the former head of merchandising for BJ’s, left the company last week because of differences with changes announced by Mr. Wedge.

Moderator’s Comment: Is BJ’s heading in the right direction
with the changes announced?

BJ’s has succeeded because of the differences between
itself and other retail competitors.

We share the concerns of Bill Dreher, analyst, WR Hambrecht
& Co. He told The Boston Globe, “about 70 percent of the products sold at
a BJ’s are also sold at a supermarket. In looking to increase that percentage,
BJ’s runs the risk of resembling a discount supermarket.” [George
Anderson – Moderator

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