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    BJ's Wholesale Club Sees Dip in April Comps

    NATICK, Mass.-- In the face of flat food sales, BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. said net sales for April 2007 increased 1.9 percent, to $618.5 million, from $606.7 million for April 2006, while comparable-club sales for April 2007 declined 2.1 percent, including a contribution from gas sales of about 1.2 percent and a negative impact from the absence of pharmacy sales over last year of 0.4 percent.

    NATICK, Mass.-- In the face of flat food sales, BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. said net sales for April 2007 increased 1.9 percent, to $618.5 million, from $606.7 million for April 2006, while comparable-club sales for April 2007 declined 2.1 percent, including a contribution from gas sales of about 1.2 percent and a negative impact from the absence of pharmacy sales over last year of 0.4 percent.

    One of the factors affecting comparable-club sales was that the company closed the last of its in-club pharmacies in February 2007. Additionally, a calendar shift in the timing of Easter-related sales had an adverse impact on comparable-club sales of about 2 percent, and unseasonably cold and wet weather across most of the chain negatively affected sales for the first half of the month.

    In the year-ago period BJ's posted a comparable club sales increase of 1.2 percent, including a contribution from gas sales of 1.5 percent.

    For the first quarter of 2007, net sales grew 6.6 percent, to $2.0 billion, from $1.9 billion last year. Comparable-club sales rose 2.3 percent for the first quarter, including a contribution from gas sales of 1.4 percent. For the first quarter of 2006, BJ's experienced a comparable-club sales increase of 2.0 percent, including a contribution from sales of gas of 1.4 percent.

    Except for the New York metropolitan area, the retailer's sales declined in all geographic regions, with most sluggish sales in New England and the Southeast.

    Food sales were essentially flat vs. last year in April, and increased 3 percent for the quarter. General merchandise sales went down about 7 percent in April and fell about 2 percent for the quarter.

    Categories with the highest sales increases over last year included dairy, milk, and snacks while weaker sales compared with last year were seen in weather-sensitive departments such as apparel, lawn care, sporting goods and summer seasonal, along with electronics, jewelry, residential furniture and toys.

    BJ's operates 173 BJ's Wholesale clubs and 96 gasoline stations in 16 states.

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