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    Merchandise Sales Propel Susser’s Q2 Results

    Parent of Stripes c-stores plans to ramp up new store openings.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News

    CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Beer, foodservice and packaged beverages flew off the shelves at Stripes convenience stores during Susser Holdings Corp.'s fiscal second quarter ended July 3.

    That led Susser Holdings to achieve an 8-percent same-store merchandise sales increase compared to the c-store chain's 2011 second quarter, said CEO Sam L. Susser.

    A booming Texas economy -- where a majority of Susser Holdings' Stripes-branded stores are located -- was a major contributor to same-store sales improvement. "[About] 867,000 jobs were added in Texas from June 2007 to June 2012," the chief executive noted. "That's an 8-percent increase."

    Specifically, Susser noted that single-serve beverage items, such as isotonics, sold extremely well at Stripes stores in its latest quarter. In addition, customers have eschewed low-cost beers in favor of purchasing premium libations, he said.

    Also rising in Susser's latest quarter were retail net merchandise margins, retail fuel margins and motor fuel sales. "We had extremely strong results from the retail side of the business," Susser said.

    The one weak area in Susser Holdings' latest earnings was cigarette margins. However, Susser stressed that in-store cigarette sales continue to be a smaller part of its business, now accounting for only 7.6 percent of in-store merchandise sales.

    The CEO added that the company will continue to open new Stripes locations. As of Aug. 7, 11 new stores have opened and 13 stores are currently under construction. Susser Holdings now has 545 company-owned Stripes stores and more than 500 contracted locations.

    For 2013, Susser said the retailer will accelerate its land bank purchases and plans to open 28 to 35 new stores.

    According to Susser, the new Stripes stores opened next year will only be in the states in which the company already operates: Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The majority will open in Texas.

    "Texas is expected to have great population growth in the coming years," he said. "The penetration there remains strong. There will be far more c-stores in Texas in the future."

    Aggressive new store growth will not affect Susser Holdings' core business, the CEO relayed. "Our core business remains solid. We believe we can continue to deliver great results for our shareholders while opening new stores."

    Overall, Susser Holdings' 2012 fiscal second-quarter earnings improved to $29.8 million, compared to $23.6 million during the same period last year.

    Susser Holdings also reiterated its intent to spin off its wholesale fuels business into a master limited partnership called Susser Petroleum Partners LP. The company already filed the required S-1 form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    "We believe the full value of the wholesale division has not been fully recognized," Susser said.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News
    • About Brian Berk Brian Berk is managing editor of Stagnito Business Information's Convenience Store News and Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner, where he specializes in covering motor fuels, technology and financial news. He has served the magazine industry for 14 years and has also worked in the radio and newspaper fields. Berk holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the State University of New York at Cortland and a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

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