BJ'S Posts Bigger June Sales, Lowers Q2 Guidance

NATICK, Mass. -- BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc., based here, said yesterday that June sales went up 8.9 percent to $796.1 million, from $730.9 million last year. Led by strong performance in food categories, sales on a comparable-club basis grew 4.3 percent in June, despite a negative effect from sales of gasoline of about 30 basis points.

Last year, BJ's posted a comparable-club rise in sales of 7.4 percent for June, including a positive effect from sales of gas of 2.6 percent.

For the 22 weeks ended July 2, sales increased 8.6 percent, while on a comparable-club sales bases, sales rose 4.4 percent for the period, the company added.

Based on lower-than-planned profitability on gas sales during the quarter, which resulted from steadily rising crude oil and wholesale gasoline prices, BJ's said it now anticipates second-quarter earnings at the low end of its earlier guided range of 43 cents to 46 cents per share.

"Our overall sales for the month were strong, due primarily to warm and sunny weather across the chain, in contrast to cool, wet weather during June of last year and May of this year," said BJ's president and c.e.o. Mike Wedge. "Sales of air conditioners and fans had a positive impact on comparable-club sales of approximately 1 percent. On a comparable-club basis, food sales increased by approximately 6 percent, and general merchandise sales increased by approximately 2 percent."

Comps rose in all major markets, with the biggest increases in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and New England regions, and the smallest in Metro New York. Excluding gas sales, traffic was about even with last year, and the average transaction amount grew about 4 percent.

Categories with strong comp sales increases vs. last year included produce, soda and water, juices, paper products, air conditioners and fans, electronics, lawn and garden, summer seasonal, and televisions. Among the weaker categories vs. last year were cigarettes, dairy, milk, best-seller books, computer equipment, jewelry, and sporting goods.

BJ's currently operates 159 clubs, including two ProFoods Restaurant Supply clubs, and 85 gas stations, vs. 151 BJ's Wholesale clubs and 78 gas stations one year ago.

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