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Jul 20, 2018

BJ's Wholesale analysts look for more upside after 51% run-up

Vehicles sit parked outside a BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. location in Miami, Florida, May 2018

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The year’s best-performing initial public offering by a retailer will face Wall Street scrutiny on Monday, when a round of analyst initiations are expected to gauge whether BJ’s Wholesale (BJ.N) shares have any remaining room for upside.

On July 23, a quiet period expires for perhaps the most amicable analysts on Wall Street: Those working at banks that underwrote BJ’s initial public offering last month. The listing’s 25-day anniversary will probably prompt initiations from lead banks Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. The syndicate also included Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Jefferies, Wells Fargo, Nomura, Baird, Guggenheim, Natixis and William Blair.

Shares in the warehouse club operator have jumped more than 50 per cent from the June 27 IPO, which priced at the top of the deal’s US$15-US$17 offering range. A hike in membership fees and an expected milestone in merchandise comparable-store sales have fuelled the bullish view on BJ’s. Rival Costco Wholesale (COST.O) has also risen since the listing, reaching a record high on Thursday and putting its valuation at US$95.4 billion, 28 times that of BJ’s US$3.4-billion market capitalization.

Among analysts not beholden to the 25-day quiet period, two suggest buying BJ’s and one has the equivalent of a sell rating. The average price target is US$22, below Thursday’s US$25.70 closing price. Costco recently got a new Street-high price target at Loop Capital after posting a better-than-expected sales report for June, but was downgraded to neutral from buy at Northcoast earlier this month.

BJ’s may rise on Monday if analysts surprise the market with especially bullish views, but a cautious approach from Wall Street could weigh on shares.