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    BJ's Wholesale Posts Rise in Quarterly Profit

    Strong gas sales push earnings up 25 percent from last year.

    NATICK, Mass. -- Bulk retailer BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. reported that strong sales of gasoline, fresh food, health and beauty aids drove second-quarter earnings up 25 percent year-over-year.

    Quarterly earnings rose to $28 million, or 40 cents per share, from $22 million, or 32 cents per share, a year ago. The latest quarter includes a charge of $3.6 million, or 5 cents per share, to establish a reserve for claims by credit-card-issuing banks and income of about $3 million, or 4 cents per share, representing BJ's recovery of claims against House2Home. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expected the company to post profits of 37 cents per share in the latest quarter.

    Total revenue increased by 12.6 percent to $1.88 billion from $1.67 billion in the second quarter of last year. Same-store sales, or sales at clubs open at least one year, rose by 8.5 percent, including a contribution from gasoline sales of about 2.3 percent.

    BJ's cited strong sales of gasoline, fresh food, health and beauty aids, paper products and household chemicals for the year-over-year increase, which was partially offset by a decline in sales of air conditioners and fans due to cooler weather in the Northeast compared with last year.

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