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    The Pantry's Profit Doubles on Gas Sales

    Fourth-quarter net income jumps to $25.4 million.

    SANFORD, N.C.--The Pantry Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, driven largely by sharply higher gas prices, reported BusinessWeek Online.

    Net income jumped to $25.4 million, or $1.12 per share, from $12.6 million, or 60 cents per share, in the same period last year. The latest results include charges of 22 cents per share related to store closures, impairment expenses and uninsured losses due to Hurricane Katrina.

    The year-ago quarter included charges of 7 cents per share due to hurricane-related losses, according to the report.

    Revenue rose 33 percent to $1.38 billion in the latest quarter -- which included an extra week of operations -- from $1.03 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least one year, grew about 5 percent in the quarter, according to BusinessWeek Online.

    Results were boosted by "an unusually strong contribution from the company's gasoline operations" and stronger core sales, which have benefited from a store re-branding program and a focus on higher margin merchandise, said President and CEO Peter J. Sodini.

    For the full year, earnings surged to $57.8 million, or $2.64 per share, from $15.7 million, or 76 cents per share, last year. Analysts were looking for profit of $2.47 per share. Meanwhile, annual revenue jumped to $4.43 billion, up 27 percent from $3.49 billion in fiscal 2004, reported BusinessWeek Online.

    Pantry shares rose $2.36, or 5.7 percent, to $43.46 in morning trading on the NASDAQ. The stock has traded between $26.23 and $44.77 over the past 52 weeks and is up 37 percent since the start of the year, according to the report.

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