Gas, Food Boost BJ's Quarterly Profit

NATICK, Mass. - Buoyed by strong demand for food and rising gasoline prices, BJ's Wholesale Club posted higher quarterly profits today, Reuters reports.

The largest warehouse club operator in the Northeast said it earned $16.1 million, or 23 cents per share, in the fiscal first quarter ended May 1, compared with $11.3 million, or 16 cents per share, in the same period last year.

BJ's has reportedly been focusing on attracting individual shoppers instead of the small-business customers that its larger rivals -- Costco Wholesale Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s Sam's Club -- are targeting.

BJ's said quarterly sales rose 12.1 percent to $1.6 billion, while same-stores sales rose 6.6 percent, with gasoline contributing 0.4 percent to the same-store gains.

The company said its same-store food sales rose 9 percent in the quarter, while general merchandise sales were up a more modest 4 percent.
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