BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. reported total sales for December 2008 increased by 3.2% to $1.06 billion from $1.03 billion in December 2007. On a comparable club basis, sales increased by 1.6% for the month of December, including a negative impact from sales of gasoline of 4.3%. Excluding gasoline sales, merchandise comparable club sales increased by 5.9% in December.

Severe snow and ice storms during weeks two and three had a negative impact on merchandise comparable club sales of approximately 1.5%.      

                                        Five Weeks Ended       Five Weeks Ended

                                         January 3, 2009          January 5, 2008
Merchandise comparable club sales     5.9%                   1.6%  
Impact of gasoline sales                   (4.3%)                 1.7%  
Impact of pharmacy closures     –          –                    (0.3%)  
Comparable club sales                       1.6%                  3.0%  

“We are very pleased with our 5.9% increase in merchandise comparable club sales given that we experienced two major snow storms in the Northeast and an unprecedented level of seasonal price reductions across all retail channels during the month,” said Herb Zarkin, chairman and CEO. “Our 6% increase in customer traffic was consistent with our positive trend over the past few months.”

                    Sales Results for December 2008 
                                  ($ in thousands)  

       Five Weeks Ended                     % Change
      January 3,     January 5,                 Net     Comp. 
        2009            2008                       Sales   Sales 
    $1,062,030   $1,029,201                    3.2%   1.6% 
    Forty-Eight Weeks Ended                % Change
    January 3,     January 5,                   Net   Comp. 
       2009           2008                        Sales   Sales
   $9,145,414   $8,140,633                  12.3%   10.2% 

The company provided the following additional information regarding comparable club sales for December 2008:

A comparable club sales increase of approximately 9% in food was somewhat weaker than planned and reflected the impact of sales interruptions in the Northeast caused by winter storms during critical food shopping periods. An increase of approximately 2% in general merchandise sales was somewhat higher than planned and was driven by strong sales of low-margin televisions and other consumer electronics, and by a higher level of promotions and price reductions versus last year, particularly in seasonal and toys.

Sales decreased during the first three weeks and increased during the last two weeks. The decreases in weeks two and three reflected the negative impact of snow and ice storms in the Northeast.
Sales increased in the Metro New York, New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions, with the highest increase in Metro New York. Sales decreased in the Southeast and Upstate New York regions where BJ’s has the higher concentration of gas stations compared to the rest of the chain.


Excluding sales of gasoline, traffic increased by approximately 6% and the average transaction amount was approximately flat to last year.
Merchandise categories with the strongest sales increases compared to last year included baking needs, breakfast foods, candy, seasonal, computer equipment, dairy, deli, frozen foods, health and beauty aids, meat, oils and shortenings, paper products, pet foods, prepared foods, produce, small appliances, televisions and video games.


Merchandise categories with the largest sales decreases versus last year included cigarettes, domestics, jewelry, prerecorded video and sporting goods.

For the month of January 2009 the Company expects to report an increase in merchandise comparable club sales, excluding gasoline sales, of approximately 6%.