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BJ's monthly merchandise comps up 5.9%


NATICK, Mass. BJ's Wholesale Club reported that total sales for December 2008 increased by 3.2% to $1.06 billion from $1.03 billion in December 2007. On a comparable-club basis, sales increased by 1.6% for the month of December, including a negative impact from sales of gasoline of 4.3%. Excluding gasoline sales, merchandise comparable club sales increased by 5.9% in December.

BJ's reported that a comparable-club sales increase of approximately 9% in food was somewhat weaker than planned and reflected the impact of sales interruptions in the Northeast caused by winter storms during critical food shopping periods. An increase of approximately 2% in general merchandise sales was somewhat higher than planned and was driven by strong sales of low-margin televisions and other consumer electronics, and by a higher level of promotions and price reductions versus last year, particularly in seasonal and toys. Sales decreased during the first three weeks and increased during the last two weeks. The decreases in weeks two and three reflected the negative impact of snow and ice storms in the Northeast.

For the month of January 2009 the company expects to report an increase in merchandise comparable club sales, excluding gasoline sales, of approximately 6%.

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