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Minus charge, BJ’s 4Q numbers please the Street

NATICK, Mass. — Nicked by a $7.2 million non-cash charge to correct errors in the way it accounted for leases, BJ's Wholesale Club reported a 4.3 percent dip in fourth quarter profits, to $47 million from $49.2 million last year.

Stripping out one-time items, the no-frills retailer said its earnings in the period actually advanced 12.3 percent, helped by rising sales and stronger margins, to $.73 per fully diluted share, up from $.65 per share during the same period a year ago.

Wall Street was wowed by the gain, and sent the retailer's share price rocketing up 8.9 percent, or $2.73 a share, to $33.30 in heavy mid-day trading today, the day the news was released.

Overall sales, including membership fees, advanced 7 percent, to $2.1 billion from $1.9 billion last year. Same-store sales improved 3.4 percent, including a contribution from gasoline sales of about 1.2 percent. For all of last year, sales jumped 10.2 percent, to $7.4 billion from $6.7 billion, while same-store sales jumped 6 percent, including a 1.1 percent contribution from gasoline sales.

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