BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. runs nearly 200 of those big warehouse stores, mostly along the East Coast. You have to pay for a membership to get the discounts inside. Last year, CEO Laura Sen told WBUR the recession has been good to her company.
"Well, there’s no question in my mind that the consumer is really seeking value," Sen said. "And they understand that we have great values at BJ’s. That’s really worked in our favor."
Now, that may work in BJ’s favor by fetching a good price. No one at the Natick company would comment Wednesday, but Bloomberg News says BJ’s has hired a Wall Street bank to help find a buyer. Already one New York private equity firm has shown interest.
"It can be a really good strategy," said Patty Edwards, a discount retail analyst at Trutina Financial. She says being bought by private investors that have experience with other retail brands and markets could help the $10 billion company grow.
"Anyone who’s going to buy BJ’s is looking to run them as they are now," Edwards said. "It’s not going to be another retailer that wants to add on."
Even so, the store experience and prices for customers could change. After all, buyouts happen because the new owners think they can do a better job of managing the company and making more money. But if a sale goes through and all goes well, a growing BJ’s could mean more jobs back here at its Massachusetts headquarters.
This program aired on November 11, 2010.