BJ's Wholesale Club Inc reported a better-than-expected rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday after as shoppers headed to its clubs for low prices on staples like fresh food, prepared meals and paper towels.

Excluding a 2-cent-per-share gain for favorable state income tax audit settlements, it said earnings per share were 89 cents.

Analysts, on average, had been expecting it to earn 86 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

BJ's previously announced that fourth-quarter sales rose 3.2 percent to $2.5 billion, while sales at its clubs open at least a year increased 1.7 percent.

With shoppers keeping a close on their budgets, BJ's said it expected sales of consumable items like food and paper products to outstrip demand for general merchandise, like jewelry and electronics, in the latest quarter.

BJ's said its February sales at clubs open at least a year, or same-store sales, rose 0.6 percent, including fuel. Analysts had been expecting a gain of 1.6 percent on that basis, according to Thomson Reuters Estimates.

For the fiscal year, BJ's forecast earnings of $2.26 to $2.36 per share.

(Reporting by Nicole Maestri; Editing by Derek Caney)