"Exclusive membership" has never been as common as it is at BJ's Wholesale Club. The firm is the nation's #3 membership warehouse club (far behind leaders
) and #1 in New England, with more than nine million members and more than 205 locations in 15 US states, mostly along the Eastern Seaboard. Food, including canned, fresh, and frozen items, accounts for about 75% of sales at BJ's. The remainder comes from general merchandise, including apparel, housewares, office equipment, small appliances, and gas. BJ's targets individual retail customers rather than small businesses. BJ's is owned by an affiliate of
Leonard Green & Partners
and funds advised by
CVC Capital Partners
Beyond its wholesale clubs, BJ's also sells merchandise online at BJs.com. More than 175 of the chain's wholesale outlets contain BJ's Optical departments and 100-plus sell gas. The BJ's Services and Travel division offers vacation packages, and hotel and car rental services, as well as health, home and auto insurance, home improvement and installation services, and car buying services.
Massachusetts-based BJ's operates more than 205 stores in 15 US states from Maine to Florida. Its largest markets are New York, Florida, and Massachusetts, home to nearly half of its stores.
While the company no longer reports annual sales since going private,
estimates BJ's rang up $12 billion in fiscal 2015 (ended January), up from $11.3 billion in fiscal 2014 and $11.6 billion in 2013. Groceries account for approximately 75% of BJ's total sales.
By going private (in 2011) BJ's was looking to gain the financial flexibility to expand beyond the Eastern Seaboard and strengthen its position in food and consumables. BJ's, which counts supermarkets among its main competitors, aims to be customers' first stop for groceries, offering smaller package sizes and lower prices than supermarkets. BJ's is also diversifying its selection with organic produce, fresh and frozen appetizers, desserts, and restaurant-branded items. The company's private equity owners have significant retail holdings, although CVC's are mainly overseas. Leonard Green & Partners counts
The Container Store
J. Crew Group
among its portfolio companies. The firm also has holdings in
Whole Foods Market
, and other retailers. Since it went private, BJ's has added about a dozen locations. New stores (and gas station) slated to open in Baltimore and Boston's Roxbury neighborhood were announced in 2014.
That year it opened its first club at Coral Springs, Florida, and a location at Bangor, Maine.
Continuing its focus on new locations, in early 2015, the company announced plans to open a new location at Mariners Harbor on New York's Staten Island.