An interview with Laura Sen on the future of BJ's...
How does it feel to take over during one of the worst economic crises?
We are fortunately in a business model that is well-positioned in a bad economy or a good economy. There's been a migration toward value in the retail world over the years. The value players are the winners. Do I have concerns about what the future may bring or what may happen to us? Sure, but we're very well positioned to not only survive but to grow.
Do you foresee any cuts in BJ's workforce or store closings?
For the moment, we're creating jobs. We just opened a club in Revere. But we're always looking for new efficiencies in our supply chain and club processes. We do not expect any job cuts at this time. That being said, we're very cautious about increased spending.
How long do you think the recession will last?
I wish I had a crystal ball. My guess is all of 2009 will be a tough year. We might see some light in a year from now. A lot rests on the administration and what kind of stimulus they can get that will reignite employment, housing, and the credit markets.
What is the best way to jump-start the economy - a spending stimulus, tax cuts, rebate checks?
A rebate check to somebody who is unemployed helps them for a very short time. What needs to happen - and it's the same approach we use here - is we need long-term sustainable measures that will create fertilizer for the ground so things can grow. We need systemic efforts - focusing on infrastructure improvements that will create jobs, education, and social programs that will help create jobs, and some of the tax measures will help create spending.