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BJ's Wholesale Club Logs Higher December Sales, With Food Sales Up

NATICK, Mass. -- Noting that comparable-club food sales were on an upswing, BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. yesterday posted December sales of $965.9 million, a 4.5 percent rise from December 2004's $924.5 million.

On a comparable-club basis, sales grew 1.4 percent for the month, including a contribution from sales of gasoline of about 40 basis points. In the year-ago period the retailer posted comparable-club sales growth of 5.6 percent for December, including a 1.4 percent contribution from sales of gas.

BJ's said that comparable-club sales of food increased about 5 percent, while general merchandise sales declined about 3 percent.

According to the company comparable-club sales were highest during the week before Christmas, partly because of the Christmas Day calendar shift. BJ's reported that although comparable-club sales went up in all markets, they were strongest in the metropolitan New York area. Also on a comparable club basis, excluding sales of gas, traffic went down about 3 percent, but and the average transaction amount rose about 5 percent.

Among the merchandise categories with the biggest sales increases over last year were beauty care, household chemicals, coffee, paper products, produce, soda and water, televisions, toys, and trash bags. Categories that performed less well compared with last year included apparel, bestseller books, computer equipment, domestics, DVDs, small appliances, and software.

In December 2005 BJ's opened one new club, in Newark, Del. The retailer now operates 162 clubs in 16 states, including two ProFoods Restaurant Supply clubs in the metro New York area.
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