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BJ's breaks into Atlanta

BJ's Wholesale Club will break into the Atlanta market this week, opening three stores, with two more to open later this year. The plan follows the club operator's objective of clustering locations in one market to take advantage of visibility and name recognition.

The new locations for BJ's Wholesale Club give the wholesale retailer 130 units. Sales have grown more than 11 percent annually, president Sam Foley said, and, over the past five years, its selling square footage has increased 60 percent.

The BJ's locations in the Atlanta market, which will include its pharmacy prototype as well, are situated 10 to 15 miles away from competitors, he said, though a Sam's Club is scheduled to open near a new location later this year.

BJ's expansion plan is balanced between new and existing markets, he added, and it will add 10 percent to its selling floor space annually, reaching 175 clubs by 2004.

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