NATICK, Mass. — Strong food and gasoline sales are more than making up for sluggish general merchandise at BJ’s Wholesale Club, which on Wednesday reported a 24% increase in quarterly profits, sparked in part by falling gasoline prices.
BJ’s reported net income of $28.2 million, or 48 cents per share, on sales $2.4 billion for the third quarter, which ended Nov. 1. Profits were 2 cents ahead of analysts’ estimates, due in part to what officials called “unusually strong” sales and profits in gasoline sales. Total sales for the third quarter increased 13.4%, and comparable-store sales increased 11.9%, or 6.6% excluding gasoline.
In a conference call discussing results, Herb Zarkin, chairman and chief executive officer, said it was likely he would be succeeded as CEO by Laura Sen, BJ’s current president and chief operating officer, at some point in the near future. Zarkin returned to BJ’s two years ago and helped the company regain momentum.
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