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BJ's Wholesale First-Quarter Profit Drops

A BJ's Wholesale Club in Stoneham, Massachusetts.
Michael Dwyer
A BJ's Wholesale Club in Stoneham, Massachusetts.

BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. on Tuesday said quarterly profit fell as the No. 3 U.S. warehouse club operator works to turn around its business.

Profit for the fiscal first quarter, ended May 5, was $13.65 million, or 21 cents per share, compared with $15.42 million, or 23 cents per share, a year earlier.

BJ's earned 20 cents a share, excluding a 1 cent-a-share gain from the sale of pharmacy-related assets.

Analysts, on average, were expecting it to earn 20 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates

BJ's, which has lagged behind larger rivals Costco Wholesale Corp.and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Sam's Club, is trying to get it business back on track in the face of disappointing customer traffic and sales.

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

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Sales for the first quarter rose to $2.01 billion from $1.87 billion. Analysts, on average, were expecting sales of $2.02 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Comparable store sales for the first quarter rose by 2.3 percent. BJ's said the results were helped by 1.4 percent contribution from gasoline sales and hurt by a "negative impact" of 0.4 percent from the absence of pharmacy sales compared with last year.

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