NATICK, Mass. — Consumers looking for values drove hefty increases in sales and store traffic to BJ’s Wholesale Club during the second quarter, but a relatively cautious outlook sent stock in the retailer down by more than 7% Wednesday. A 5% increase in store traffic was BJ’s strongest result since 2004, officials said, as strong sales in food and gasoline drove sales up 17.5% to $2.65 billion. Comparable-store sales, excluding gasoline, increased by 7.4%. Net earnings of $36.5 million, or 61 cents per share, increased by 0.6%. Although BJ’s raised its annual earnings guidance by 6 cents to a range of $2.10 to $2.20 per share, officials in a conference call Wednesday expressed concerns that economic pressures and cost inflation would continue in the second half.
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