BJ's Wholesale Club CEO Chris Baldwin Outlines Fresh-Focused Strategy

BJ's Wholesale Club CEO Chris Baldwin Outlines Fresh-Focused Strategy

WESTBOROUGH, MA – With just over a year under his belt as BJ Wholesale Club CEO, Chris Baldwin has given the buy-side sector a little glimpse into what sets the exec apart and gives the chain an edge in the competitive retail landscape. 

At the top of Baldwin’s focus is a need to impart on consumers the top priority of the companyan emphasis on fresh, he told the Post and Courier.

Chris Baldwin, CEO, BJ's Wholesale Club

“What we would really like the public to know is how important our fresh food business is to our company. What makes us different than other club store operators is how much fresh food is at the center of our plan,” Baldwin stated in the interview. “We try and give shoppers the opportunity to fill up their weekly basket.” 

In order to continually deliver on this fresh food strategy, Baldwin stated that the company offers more variety than its competitors. Additionally, BJ’s Wholesale Club aims to keep its prices 25 percent lower than other buy-side names on everything, fresh fruit and vegetables included, in order to keep a strong portfolio. 

BJ's Wholesale Club in Virginia

So, what’s in the future for BJ’s Wholesale Club? Baldwin named expanion, online sales, and more fresh offerings to adapt to the shifting retail landscape.

“We will continue to invest in growth. We've added 14 stores over the last three or four years. We opened in New Jersey in August, and will open in Summerville  [South Carolina] this year. We have plans to do three to five a year over the next several years,” stated Baldwin. 

The South Carolina store will earn the company its 16th state of operation, and complete its span across the East Coast. Baldwin called this next stage of expansion an important one to the company. 

CEO Chris Baldwin touring BJ's Wholesale Club latest location in Summerville, South Carolina (Photo Source: Wade Spees/The Post and Courier)

Baldwin also indicated that BJ’s Wholesale Club will continue to utilize its membership model in future plans, as the company sees the American consumer expanding their use of memberships in every day life. The company will also continue to explore e-commerce options, he added.

“I think retailers that are able to deliver a combination of freshness and value will be very successful for a long time to come,” continued Baldwin. “There's no question that the consumer in the U.S. has a great deal of options today, including traditional brick-and-mortar and online retailers. As has been the case in all of history, retailers will always be challenged to be more effective and more efficient in what they do. I think retailers that have a very strong fresh and valued proposition have a very, very bright future." 

When asked if the company intended to use its successes and expansion as opportunity to go public and pursue an IPO, Baldwin stated that for now, the wholesale chain is happy with its current private status

With its newest 87,000-square-foot store store, BJ's Wholesale Club will boast 215 stores and employ over 25,000 people.

As retailers continue to expand throughout U.S. markets and beyond, AndNowUKnow will keep our finger to the pulse of the latest buy-side trends and strategies.

BJ’s Wholesale Club