From: Reuters
Published November 20, 2007 07:48 AM

BJ's Wholesale profit rises

NEW YORK (Reuters) - BJ's Wholesale Club Inc <BJ.N>, which is working to turn its business around, on Tuesday reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit as sales increased 8 percent.

The third-largest U.S. warehouse club operator said net income rose to $22.7 million, or 35 cents per share, for the third quarter ended November 3, up from $18.3 million, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, had been expecting it to earn 33 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

BJ's, which competes with larger rivals Costco Wholesale Corp <COST.O> and Wal-Mart Stores Inc's <WMT.N> Sam's Club, is trying to get its business back on track after facing disappointing sales and declining customer traffic.

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Chief Executive Herb Zarkin, named to the job in March after holding the position on an interim basis, is cutting the number of items that BJ's offers and is stocking merchandise that either has better margins or sells faster.

In the quarter, net sales rose 8 percent to $2.12 billion from $1.97 billion. Sales at its clubs open at least a year, a key retail gauge known as comparable-club sales, increased 3.4 percent.

For its fiscal year ending January 31, 2009 it forecast earnings of $1.85 per share to $1.95 per share, and a comparable-club sales increase of 4 percent to 6 percent.

Analysts, on average, have been expecting it to earn $1.92 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

It also said its board has authorized an additional $250 million for share repurchases.

(Reporting by Nicole Maestri; editing by John Wallace and Gerald E. McCormick)

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