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BJ's Shares Jump on CEO Change

The warehouse club operator is seeking to gain "fresh perspective."

BJ's Wholesale Club

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, struggling to improve its sales and traffic, said Wednesday that CEO Mike Wedge plans to step down as the company seeks to gain "fresh perspective."

The news sent shares of the company up $2.47, or 8.4%, to $32 in early trading.

The Natick, Mass.-based warehouse club chain named Chairman Herb Zarkin as its interim CEO. Wedge, 53, had served as chief executive since September 2002.

The news comes as BJ's has been suffering from tepid same-store sales as it suffers from competition from the likes of


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Sam's Club. The company has eked out a 0.4% gain in same-store sales for the first nine months of the year, excluding the benefit of gasoline sales.

"While the company has made great strides in its efforts to improve general merchandise sales and customer traffic, overall progress has not come as quickly as we had hoped and expected," Wedge and Zarkin said in a joint statement. "We agree that the company's leadership team will benefit from a fresh perspective at this time."

Zarkin has been a BJ's director since November 2006 and served as CEO of Waban, the previous owner of BJ's, from 1993 to 1997.