BJ’s Wholesale Club just filed to go public — we compared it to rivals Costco and Sam’s Club to see which bulk retailer does it best (COST, WMT)


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Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale are similar membership-based warehouse stores that offer a wide variety of products and services.
The only significant difference between Sam’s Club and Costco is the cost of membership — Sam’s Club costs $15 less annually.
BJ’s, which filed for an IPO on Thursday, differs from the other two stores in a few ways, including the presence of a self-checkout option and the lack of a food court. BJ’s locations used to have food courts, but most are being replaced by Dunkin’ Donuts kiosks.
I went to a Costco and Sam’s Club in New York and a BJ’s in New Jersey and found that the costs were comparable, but BJ’s would rank lowest because it didn’t have as much to offer.

Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale are membership-based warehouse stores selling groceries, clothing, furniture, and, well, lots of other stuff.

All three stores offer eye and ear exams, a pharmacy, one-hour photo services, and either a food court or kiosk at affordable prices. Even the return policies are similar, though BJ’s stops accepting items after a year, while Costco and Sam’s Club will do so for most items at any time.

After visiting all three stores, I found that aside from the cost of membership, Costco and Sam’s Club were very similar, while BJ’s seemed as if it was struggling to catch up.

But BJ’s is showing some signs of strength. On Thursday, the warehouse chain filed to go public, with plans to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “BJ.” The warehouse chain had previously traded publicly until 2011, when it made a deal with two private-equity firms to take it private, according to CNN Money.

Costco’s yearly membership is $60, while BJ’s comes in second at $55 and Sam’s Club is the least expensive at $45. The annual cost of premium memberships ranked similarly, with Costco costing $120, BJ’s $110, and Sam’s Club $100.

According to a grocery-store ranking from Consumer Reports, the higher membership costs at Costco might be worth it — it ranked higher than Sam’s Club and BJ’s in cleanliness, meat and produce quality, customer service, store-brand quality, and prices of organic items.

BJ’s ranked higher than Sam’s Club in just two categories: healthy organic options and checkout speed.

To see for myself which store offered the best deal, I went to a BJ’s Wholesale …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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