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NATICK, Mass. -- Helped by significant growth in food revenue, BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc.'s total sales for March 2007 surged 10.0 percent, to $790.8 million, from $718.7 million for March 2006.
Food sales grew about 6 percent, while general merchandise sales rose about 1 percent.
Categories with the strongest sales increases over last year included dairy, deli, paper products, produce, soda & water, and televisions. Among the weaker categories vs. last year were DVDs, jewelry, lawn care, residential furniture, and toys.
March comparable-club sales at BJ's rose 5.5 percent, including a contribution from sales of gasoline of about 2.1 percent, and a negative impact of 0.4 percent from the absence of pharmacy sales vs. last year. The retailer closed the last of its in-club pharmacies in February.
The calendar shift in the timing of the pre-Easter holiday sales to March this year from April last year had a positive effect of about 1.5 percent to 2 percent on comparable-club sales.
In the year-ago BJ's posted a comparable-club sales rise of 3.1 percent, including a contribution from sales of gas of 0.9 percent.
For this month BJ's expects to report comparable-club sales in the range of flat to positive 2.0 percent, including a contribution from gas sales of about 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent and a negative impact from the Easter holiday calendar shift of about 2 percent, in addition to a negative impact from a lack of pharmacy sales vs. last year of about 40 basis points.
BJ's operates 173 BJ's Wholesale clubs and 96 gasoline stations in 16 states.