NATICK, Mass. — Strong sales of perishable foods and improved price effectiveness helped BJ’s Wholesale Club post a 24% increase in profits during its fiscal third quarter, which ended Nov. 3. Sales of $2.17 billion increased by 8% vs. the same period a year ago, with comparable-store sales increasing by 3.4%, which included a negative impact from reduced sales in pharmacy and gasoline, the retailer said. Perishables showed an 8.3% comp gain during the quarter. In a conference call discussing results, Herb Zarkin, chief executive officer, said he anticipated “unusually high inflation” in 2008, based on price increases from manufacturers passing along increased packaging and shipping costs. Quarterly net earnings of $22.7 million, or 35 cents per share, exceeded analyst estimates of 33 cents, according to Thomson Financial.
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