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Driven by food, BJ's 1Q exceeds expectations

Retail Editor 4 -- Home Textiles Today, May 18, 2011

Westborough, Mass. - BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. enjoyed better-than-expected net income and sales in its first quarter.

The regional wholesale club reported net income for the period ended April 30 of $33.7 million, or 62 cents per share, which exceeded original guidance of $29.5 million to $31.5 million, or 54 to 58 cents per share.

Net sales were up 10% to $2.77 billion, and comps rose by 6.3%, including a contribution from gasoline sales of 3.9%. Merchandise comps excluding gasoline increased by 2.4%.

"BJ's is off to a great start in 2011," said Laura Sen, president and ceo. "Our stronger-than-expected performance for the first three months of 2011 reflects net sales above plan, continued margin expansion and excellent cost control.

Excluding the impact of gasoline, traffic increased by approximately 2% and the average transaction amount increased by approximately 1%.

General merchandise sales fell 1% following an increase of approximately 1% in last year's first quarter.

BJ's revised its guidance for the fiscal year. It now expects net income in the range of $147 million to $157 million, and earnings per share in the range of $2.68 to $2.88. For the second quarter, which ends July 30, the company expects to report net income in the range of $40.5 million to $42.5 million and earnings per diluted share in the range of 74 to 78 cents.

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