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    Analyst Slices Susser Holdings Estimates

    CSNews Online gets company's reaction.

    CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- After hosting its "analyst day," Susser Holdings Corp. received a mixed-bag review from John Lawrence of Morgan Keegan & Co., who underscored that the company's shares have dropped significantly since the first-of-the-year estimate.

    "We have a lot of respect for John," Chip Bonner, executive vice president, Susser, told CSNews Online. The Corpus Christi, Texas-based company operates more than 505 convenience stores in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma under the Stripes and Town & Country banners. It supplies branded motor fuel to over 380 independent dealers through its wholesale fuel division.

    "We are excited to have analysts covering our company; however, we do not comment on projections," Bonner told CSNews Online. "It's John's call to make."

    While Lawrence originally estimated the company to be at 98 cents per share, he now expects Susser to earn 40 cents per share this year, which reflects first quarter losses and dipping fuel margins.

    For Susser, the news wasn't all grim. Lawrence was impressed by the company's recent merchandising initiatives. In his report he noted that Susser will likely post strong margins and same-store sales, or sales in stores open at least a year, a key retailer metric.

    "Despite our reduced estimates, we continue to view Susser as a well positioned [convenience] store operator given a strong regional economy," Lawrence noted in his report.

    Bonner also told CSNews Online that first quarter results represented significant increases. "We are in the part of the country experiencing a lot of growth which is buoyed by the oil patch and agricultural community…we don't see the same issues affecting other parts of the country," said Bonner.

    When asked about future strategies, Bonner responded, "We will continue to look for signs of weakness and respond accordingly."

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