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    Food Helps BJ's Enjoy Better-than-expected August

    NATICK, Mass. -- Groceries and perishables played a role in BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc.'s August 2006 sales rise of 4.4 percent to $624.7 million, from $598.3 million in the year-ago period, the warehouse club retailer said yesterday.

    NATICK, Mass. -- Groceries and perishables played a role in BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc.'s August 2006 sales rise of 4.4 percent to $624.7 million, from $598.3 million in the year-ago period, the warehouse club retailer said yesterday.

    The chain also said August 2006 comparable-club sales grew 2.3 percent over last year, including a contribution from gasoline sales of 1.2 percent, outpacing analyst expectations of a 1.6 percent rise in same-store sales. Last year BJ's posted a comparable-club sales increase of 5.6 percent for August, including a contribution from gas sales of 3.4 percent.

    On a comparable-club basis, food sales rose about 3 percent, and general merchandise sales went down about 2 percent. Among the grocery categories that enjoyed strong comparable-club sales over last August were beverages, produce, and paper products; nongrocery winners included as air conditioners, electronics, luggage, and small appliances. Weaker categories vs. August 2005 included meat, DVDs, apparel, jewelry, and office supplies.

    BJ's said comps were best in the first week of August, and weakest in the third week. Same-store sales grew in all of the warehouse club's major regions, with the highest rises in upstate New York and Metro New York, and the lowest in the Southeast. Excluding gas sales, the average transaction amount for August 2006 went up about 3 percent, while traffic declined about 2 percent.

    BJ's operates 165 BJ's clubs and two ProFoods Restaurant Supply clubs.

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