February 3, 2011, 3:41 PM

BJ's Wholesale Club ponders going on the block

The buying club is exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company.

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On the heels of a restructure and closing several locations, BJ’s Wholesale Club announced today it is exploring strategic alternatives, including the potential sale of the business.

No timetable has been set by the company’s board of directors and no specific options are on the table so far, says BJ’s, No. 459 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

 Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. is the financial advisor in the process.

In addition to its e-commerce site, BJs.com, the company operates 189 wholesale clubs in 15 states.

In early January, BJ’s disclosed that it would close five underperforming clubs by the end of the month, and would restructure its home office and certain field operations. The actions were part of a new strategy to improve operations, the company said at the time.

The moves came after several months devoted to developing a new strategic plan, CEO Laura J. Sen said, to improve performance and build for the future.

Management changes also were announced, effective Jan. 30, and included Robert W. Eddy being named executive vice president and chief financial officer and Cornel Catuna being promoted to executive vice president of club operations. Eddy formerly was senior vice president and director of finance and Catuna was senior vice president of field operations.

The promotions followed the retirements of Frank Forward, executive vice president and CFO, and Thomas F. Gallagher, executive vice president of club operations. Forward’s retirement had been planned since 2007 when Eddy joined BJ’s to help manage the finance division. Gallagher retired for health reasons, the company said.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2010, BJ’s reported:

  • Sales of $7.84 billion, up by 8.6% from $7.22 billion in the prior year period. The company did not break out online sales.
  • Comparable-store sales, excluding gasoline, were up 2.8%.
  • Net income of $84.8 million, a 10.6% increase from net income of $76.7 million in 2009.
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