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BJ’s lays groundwork for IPO

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WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Warehouse club operator BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. recently filed with regulators to return to the public market, despite a downturn in the retail sector.

The company, which was taken private in 2011 for $2.8 billion by private equity firms Leonard Green & Partners LP and CVC Capital Partners Ltd., will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “BJ,” a regulatory filing showed recently.

The filing said the offering size was $100 million, a placeholder number given in first preliminary IPO filings. The final size of the IPO could be different.

The Wall Street Journal reported in April that the company could be valued between $2 billion and $3 billion, with its private equity backers raising at least $400 million.

The filing did not reveal how many shares the company planned to sell or their expected price.

BJ’s IPO will be the second retail listing in 2018 after airport concession operator Hudson Ltd., and it comes at a time when brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling as consumers spend more of their dollars online. Warehouse club operators, however, have largely bucked the downturn as their business models rely on recurring membership revenues as well as top-line sales.

In addition, the company announced an updated website featuring convenient new services such as Shop BJs.com — Pick Up in Club as well as the ability to add digital coupons to selected online orders.

“We’re excited to roll out these new benefits for our members,” said Rafeh Masood, senior vice president and chief digital officer at BJ’s. BJ’s members will have the added convenience of making a purchase on BJs.com and picking it up in any one of the company’s 215 clubs in as little as two hours. Members will have access to thousands of items through Shop BJs.com — Pick Up in Club to make their shopping trip easier.


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