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MarketWatch MarketPulseJan 23, 2020
BJ's Wholesale downgraded as merchandise cuts put same-store sales at risk
BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. was downgraded to neutral from buy at Bank of America on concern that the retailer's effort to streamline merchandise by cutting the number of items in some categories could disrupt same-store sales. Bank of America cut its price objective to $25 from $30. BJ's stock is down nearly 1% in Thursday trading. "While assortment optimization can support margin improvements, we believe it can also create near-term disruption by eliminating/displacing traffic-driving items," the note said. Any impact could take as much as six months to show itself, another risk. Analysts are also worried that a declining population and slower economic growth in the Northeast, where BJ's has 61% of its store base, could be a challenge. BJ's stock has slumped 12% over the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 25.5% for the period.

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