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    The Pantry's Income Exceeds Expectations

    CEO attributes success to rebranding store, private labels and expanded foodservice.

    SANFORD, N.C. -- The Pantry Inc. revised its earnings guidance, saying that it expects to report higher net income than previously expected, reported Triangle Business Journal .

    The Sanford, N.C.-based convenience store operator expects to report diluted earnings per share for its fiscal year, which ended Sept. 29, 2005, in a range between $2.55 and $2.60.

    That includes charges of 22 cents per share related to store closings, impairment charges, and uninsured losses associated with Hurricane Katrina.

    The company had previously projected a guidance range of $2.10 to $2.15. Diluted earnings per share for fiscal 2004, excluding a number of financing-related charges, were $1.54. Comparable store merchandise sales and gasoline gallons sold for fiscal 2005 increased 5.3 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively.

    "These excellent preliminary annual results reflect the success of our strategies implemented over the past few years to better diversify and secure our gasoline supply, rebrand and reimage our stores, and enhance our merchandising offerings with private label and expanded food services," president and CEO Peter J. Sodini said in a statement.

    The Pantry's fiscal fourth-quarter results also benefited from the acquisitions the firm completed in the latter half of the year and from strong gasoline sales.

    The benefits were partially offset by charges related to the Pantry closing 19 underperforming stores.

    The company projects it will post fiscal 2006 earnings per share in a range between $2.55 and $2.65. That guidance assumes that gasoline margins will be about 12.5 cents per gallon.

    The Pantry operates 1,400 stores in 11 states under a number of banners.

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