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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- In a note from Susser Holdings Corp. that provided an update on the company's progress with the integration of Town & Country Food Stores, the company revealed that Town & Country CEO, Alvin New, would not be able to uphold the required commitments for his position as executive vice president at Susser Holdings and president and chief executive officer of Susser's retail operations, and as a result, will be replaced by a successor that has yet to be named.
"Town & Country CEO Alvin New notified us that although he remains committed to ensuring the successful integration of the two businesses, he is unable to make the commitment to relocate his family from San Angelo to the Corpus Christi area this summer; so the company has begun a search to recruit a strong and experienced executive to lead our retail division," Sam L. Susser, Susser's president and CEO said in a statement. "Alvin has indicated he will continue in his current role until his successor can be identified."
The company also stated that it expects total administrative expense and procurement savings from the merger to reach approximately $5 million annually, more than doubling the $2 million estimate that was previously announced. The increase reflects savings from cuts in corporate staffing, duplicative overhead expenses and improved supplier/vendor terms, the company stated.
"While there is still work to do, we have made significant progress in integrating the two companies," said Susser. "We've identified new opportunities and are more confident than ever in our ability to realize benefits from our increased scale and geographic diversity."
As of the beginning of this year, the company incorporated Town & Country's financial results into Susser's reporting system, allowing Susser to provide visibility into the combined company's results for the first quarter of 2008, Susser said in the statement.
In addition, the company completed negotiations and entered into a new three-year supply agreement with the McLane Co., which will be based on a new delivery fee-based pricing structure, where Susser expects to see significant cost savings, the company stated. Also, Susser reached additional agreements with its major beverage suppliers and various smaller suppliers and service providers, which will add to the annual cost savings, according to the company.
Meanwhile, Susser's merger and integration committee completed an analysis of the management and back-office systems at Town & Country, and implemented plans to reorganize the retail division's management teams, which include relocation opportunities for select employees, while numerous duplicative corporate positions will be eliminated, the company stated.
In addition, the company completed several steps to consolidate the back-office systems, and expects to complete the back-office process and associated relocations by September 2008, the company stated. As a result, all of the 1,800 Town & Country retail operations employees in Texas and New Mexico remain in their current positions.
"The work of our merger and integration committee has been thorough, prompt and professional," Susser said in a statement. "There were a number of difficult decisions that had to be made, and we're comfortable that we've taken the right steps to ensure the long-term success of the company."
In other company news, Susser released its expected financial results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007. The company expects same-store merchandise sales growth of approximately 11.7 percent, with the full year same-store merchandise sales to reach 7.7 percent.
In the quarter, average per-store fuel volumes were expected to increase by 9.3 percent, with the full-year average per-store fuel volume growth of 5 percent, the company stated.
During the quarter, Susser opened nine new retail units, bringing the total number of new and acquired stores in 2007 to 186, which includes the 168 stores from Town & Country. Three locations were closed during the quarter, bringing the total store count to 505 as of Dec. 31, 2007.