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Thursday, November 23, 2006

BJ's sale ahead?

NATICK

The abrupt resignation of BJ's Wholesale Club's chief executive yesterday, at the start of the holiday shopping season, renewed speculation that the Natick-based chain may be preparing itself for a sale.

Mike Wedge , 53, had led the warehouse retailer since 2002. Herb Zarkin , BJ's 68-year-old chairman, who had planned to retire next year but will now stand for reelection to the board, will step in as CEO until a successor is named.

Yesterday, a statement from the two executives lauded Wedge for increasing sales and bringing in new customers during his tenure, but said BJ's "overall progress has not come as quickly as we had hoped and expected. We agree that the company's leadership team will benefit from a fresh perspective at this time."

Analysts said Wedge's resignation -- which sent BJ's shares surging 10 percent, to close at $32.48 yesterday -- is about more than just the company's performance, the Globe's business section reports today.

-- Keith Reed

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