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    BJ's Eyes Car Washes

    Wholesale club retailer considers fuel compliment.

    By Mitch Morrison

    NATICK, Mass. -- Expected to open more than 20 service stations this year, BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. is joining a small clique of high-volume retailers to publicly acknowledge interest in introducing car washes at strategic locations.

    BJ's, which competes against Costco and Sam's, has launched an aggressive strike in the gasoline market over the past two years and believes gasoline could make a natural companion at the chain's larger locations.

    "At this time, we're looking at car washes, but we don't have an assigned dealer. We look at it as another service to add value to our member's paid membership," BJs spokeswoman Julie Somers told CSNews Online.

    The idea is winning support from at least one Wall Street analyst. "This strikes us as a good idea; we believe car washes will enhance the destination aspect of BJ's clubs and thus drive incremental club traffic, as well as enhance the value of a BJ's membership," said Linda Kristiansen, an analyst at UBS Warburg.

    It's premature whether BJ's interest could cause a domino effect. A Costco official told CSNews Online that his chain has little interest in pursuing car washes.

    By Mitch Morrison
    • About Mitch Morrison

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