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NATICK, Mass. -- Food sales were a key element in the sales growth BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. here reported yesterday. Total sales for January 2008 increased 11.2 percent to $652.0 million at the retailer, from $586.3 million in the year-ago period. Comparable-club January sales rose 7.8 percent, including a contribution from sales of gasoline of 2.6 percent and a negative impact from the absence of pharmacy sales of 0.3 percent. For January 2007, BJ's posted a comparable-club sales increase of 3.5 percent, including a contribution from gas sales of 0.3 percent.
For the fourth quarter of 2007, total sales grew 9.2 percent to $2.4 billion, and comparable-club sales went up 5.4 percent, including a contribution from gas sales of 2.4 percent, and a negative impact from the absence of pharmacy sales of about 0.4 percent.
For the 52-week year ended Feb. 2, total sales increased 8.1 percent to $8.8 billion, and comparable-club sales rose 3.7 percent, including a contribution from gas sales of 1.1 percent and a negative impact from the absence of pharmacy sales of 0.4 percent.
Among the additional information provided by the retailer: Excluding gas sales, traffic increased about 1 percent, and the average transaction amount grew about 5 percent, and food sales rose about 8 percent, while general merchandise sales went up about 2 percent.
Merchandise departments with the strongest sales increases vs. last year included candy; cheese; dairy; disposable plates, cups, and cutlery; frozen; health and beauty aids; household chemicals; juices; meat; oils and shortenings; paper products; produce; soda and water; televisions; and video games. Among the weaker departments compared with last year were apparel, cigarettes, computer equipment, pre-recorded video, residential furniture, and tires.
BJ's operates 177 clubs in 16 states.