Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a Placer.ai account? Log In

Placer Bytes: BJ's Wholesale on the Rise, Off-Price Potential?

by 
Ethan Chernofsky
 on 
May 18, 2020
Placer Bytes: BJ's Wholesale on the Rise, Off-Price Potential?

In this Placer Bytes we dig into the huge potential BJ’s Wholesale Club is showing and how two Off-Price leaders are positioned for the months to come.

BJ’s Driving a Rebound

BJ’s Wholesale Club is in the midst of a massive rebound. Visits to the wholesaler were up 18.2% in Q1 2020 as opposed to a 1.7% decline in the year prior. And there are signs that this turnaround is only picking up.

After a mixed 2019 when many months saw visits declining year over year, BJ’s kicked off 2020 with January visits down 3.0% year-over-year. Yet, this all changed with the pandemic hitting. Every month in the quarter saw visits rise with 7.3% increase in February, a 34.2% increase in March and a 9.9% increase in April. And while the crazy peak in March may not be reached again in the near future, the long term strength looks to be building. Visits during the week between April 27th and May 3rd, were 20.8% above the baseline for the period between January 2018 and May 4th, 2020. This surpassed the visit totals for all but three weeks during the period, the week before Christmas in 2018 and the height of the pandemic shopping in March 2020.

It’s also possible that this growth doesn't let up. The coming months will likely be guided by a heavier consumer orientation toward value and grocery, the exact position BJ’s holds. Additionally, the membership model incentivizes ongoing visits, helping BJ’s to sustain the success it experienced in Q1.

Off-Price, On Point?

Yes, the subtitle doesn’t really make sense, but how do you pass off that literary opportunity, I certainly couldn’t. But the real question is whether consumers will pass over apparel shopping in the coming months. Ross and Kohls both had a rough quarter with visit declines of 48.1% and 53.0% respectively. And, while this is certainly understandable considering the circumstances and closed stores, the bigger question focuses on the long term potential. 

And there is a very strong argument for why it’s there. January is generally not a great month for apparel following the surge of the holiday season. Yet, Ross saw a visit increase of 8.8% in January and 12.2% in February prior to visits plummeting as stores shuttered.

Kohls saw a similar trend with visits rising 8.7% and 7.6% year-over-year in January and February before taking their pandemic driven plunge. 

And this brings the conversation to the critical question, can visits return or has something fundamentally changed? There is the possibility that apparel simply falls out of favor for the coming months of economic uncertainty and these two brands struggle accordingly. However, there is a very real possibility that a period of surging traffic could be on the way. The influx of new inventory because of major brands being closed in the spring, the treasure hunt appeal and the value orientation could position these brands to thrive. 

Additionally, key competitors may be feeling the heat even more. 36.8% of Kohls shoppers and 30.6% of Ross shoppers also visited a JC Penney during this period. With potential store closings on the horizon on the back of bankruptcy announcements, much of these visits could be up for grabs. The combination of very strong performance heading into the crisis, effective positioning for the coming period of economic uncertainty and a weakened competitive landscape may actually set these brands up to thrive in the coming months and years.

Will BJ’s Wholesale continue to grow? Can these off-price apparel giants thrive in 2020? 

Visit Placer.ai to find out.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Placer.ai Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth
Placer.ai Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again
Placer.ai Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024?
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy
Placer.ai Mall Index: February 2024
Placer.ai Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024: Placer.ai’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains
Placer.ai Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top
Placer.ai and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap
Placer.ai Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season
Placer.ai Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023