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    BJ's Q4, 2008 Net Income, Net and Sales Climb

    The retailer's February 2009 sales trended positive as well, with a continuing assist from many grocery categories, although gasoline-affected comps were virtually flat.

    BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. yesterday posted net income of $52.7 million, or 91 cents per diluted share, for its fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, 2009. The results included post-tax income of $1.3 million, or two cents per diluted share, in connection with favorable state income tax audit settlements. For the year-ago period, net income was $50.2 million, or 80 cents per diluted share.

    For the full year 2008, BJ's net income was $134.6 million, or $2.28 per diluted share. The results included, on a per diluted share basis, unusual income of six cents for favorable state income tax audit settlements, and unusual expense of one cent for the club closing reserve. Last year, net income was $122.9 million, or $1.90 per diluted share.

    Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2008 increased 3.2 percent to $2.5 billion and comparable-club sales grew 1.7 percent, including an adverse effect from sales of gasoline of 4.7 percent. Merchandise comps excluding gas increased by 6.4 percent.

    Net sales for the full year 2008 went up 11.5 percent to $9.8 billion and comps rose 9.4 percent, including a favorable impact from sales of gas of 3.0 percent. Merchandise comparable club sales excluding gas grew 6.4 percent.

    The company's sales for the month of February 2009, also released yesterday increased 2.4 percent to $670.0 million from $654.2 million in the year-ago period. Comparable-club sales rose 0.6 percent in February 2009, including a negative impact from sales of gasoline of 7.6 percent. For February 2008, the company posted a comp increase of 5.9 percent, including an adverse effect from gas sales of 2.7 percent.

    Departments with the strongest sales increases in February 2009 over last year included breakfast foods, candy, computer hardware and software, dairy, deli, frozen foods, health and beauty aids, household chemicals, meat, paper, pet foods, prepared foods, produce, small appliances, snacks, televisions and video games. Among the weaker departments vs. last year were apparel, domestics, jewelry, prerecorded video and sporting goods.

    For 2009, the company is planning for net income of $123 to $129 million, or $2.26 to $2.36 per diluted share.

    Natick, Mass.-based BJ's operates 180 BJ's Wholesale clubs in 15 states.

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