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NATICK, Mass. -- With an assist from higher food sales, BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc.'s November sales rose 4.9 percent to $652.5 million, from $621.8 million in November of last year. Comparable-club sales grew 0.6 percent for the month, including a negative impact from gas sales of 1.3 percent.
In the year-ago period the company posted a comparable-club sales increase of 1.8 percent, including a positive impact from gas sales of 1.2 percent.
On a comparable-club basis, food sales rose about 3 percent, and general merchandise sales grew about 1 percent. Among the categories with strong comparable club sales increases compared with the year-ago period were paper products, produce, and soda & water. Categories that turned in weaker performances than last year included automotive & tools, Christmas, jewelry, pre-recorded video, residential furniture, and tires.
According to BJ's, November sales were strongest in week four, helped by strong sales on "Black Friday" and, to a lesser extent, by incremental sales on Thanksgiving Day, since most of the retailer's clubs opened for shortened hours this year, and no BJ's clubs were open on Thanksgiving Day last year.
Excluding gas sales, the average transaction amount for November increased about 1 percent, BJ's said, adding that traffic went up about 1 percent versus last year.
BJ's currently operates 171 clubs, including two ProFoods Restaurant Supply clubs and 94 gasoline stations.