Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

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

Ethan Chernofsky
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 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 Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
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 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
Blockbusters Drive Movie Theater Comeback
Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success
McDonald’s and Chipotle's Winning Recipe
The State Of Steak: Checking in With Texas Roadhouse
Pleasant Pastimes: Pickleball Potential Proves Potent
Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?
Diving into Downtown Manhattan Foot Traffic Trends
Rite Aid: Rightsizing Right
Major League Soccer: Its Die-Hard and Casual Fans
The Anchor Recap: September 2023 Office Index: September 2023 Recap
Placer Mall Index Recap: September 2023
September White Paper Recap
The Consumer Habits of College Students
JCPenney: Rightsizing and Revitalizing
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023 Office Index: August 2023 Recap Mall Index: August 2023 Recap White Paper Recap: August 2023
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Strikes Again
Big Scoop: We All Scream For Ice Cream
Sports Away: Lululemon & Nike’s Momentum Continues
Summer Visits Heat Up For Recreation and Outdoor Gear Chains
No CSS overwrite - July 2023 Office Index Recap
Staging - August 2023 Mall Indec
Mid-Atlantic Grocery Deep Dive
Experiential Chains Heating Up This Summer
Petco Goes Big by Going Small
Ulta Beauty: Leading the Discretionary Pack
Discount and Dollar Chains Continue to Thrive
Summer of Sports: DICK’s Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports
Off-Price: Succeeding Into Summer
The Anchor Recap: July 2023
Superstores Maintaining Pandemic Gains Amidst Economic Headwinds
2023: Home Improvement at the Halfway Point
July 2023 Office Index Recap Mall Index: July 2023 Recap
The Taylor Swift Visit Lift
Southwestern Grocery Dive
July 2023 White Paper Recap: Halfway Point Review & Quarterly Index
Yum! Brands: Driving Dining Visits
Slurpees and Summer Movies Stimulate Consumer Foot Traffic
Cool Beans: Summer Coffee Update
Checking In on Back to School 2023
Crocs and New Balance Tip The Scales
Burger Bliss: Shake Shack and In-N-Out Stacking Visits
Chipotle & McDonald's Continue to Reign Supreme
Vibenomics and Partner to Enhance Retail Media In-Store Measurement
California Grocers Here We Come!
Marriott’s Different Audiences
Bonchon and Kura Sushi Thrive in the Fast-Casual Scene
A Shoe In: Footwear Climbs to the Top
Cheers! Raising a Glass to Beverage Retail Office Index: June 2023 Recap Mall Index June 2023 Recap – A Turn of the Tide and a Dive into Open-Air Lifestyle Centers
Local Kitchens: Redefining the Restaurant
Unlocking Urban Insights: The Value in Manhattan’s Employees
Ohio State Parks On The Rise
How is Inflation Impacting the High-Income Shoppers?
Five Fast-Growing Dining Chains
What To Expect From Prime Day and July Sales Events in 2023
The State Of Fashion: How Are Apparel Retailers Faring in 2023?
2023’s Latest Dining Success Story: GEN Korean BBQ House
The NBA Finals: A Location Intelligence Perspective
Moving the Market: The Impact of Domestic Migration on Housing Costs
Post-Pandemic Museum Update
The Darden-est Things