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    Retail Net Income Slides at Sunoco, Western Refining in Q3

    Like competitors, increased credit card fees are one main reason cited by the companies.

    PHILADELPHIA and EL PASO, Texas -- Sunoco Inc., the owner and operator of 600-plus convenience stores and more than 4,900 total retail gasoline outlets throughout the eastern United States, saw net income for its Retail Marketing business tumble to $48 million during its fiscal third quarter, ending Sept. 30, compared to $68 million during the same quarter in 2010.

    According to Sunoco, the decrease was mostly due to higher expenses from litigation fees and increased credit card fees.

    The Retail Marketing segment contributed $129 million in total sales for the quarter, compared to $175 million during 2010's third quarter.

    As for the entire company, Sunoco lost nearly $1.1 billion in its latest quarter. That compares to a net profit of $65 million last year. However, according to the company, the entire loss plus an additional $800 million was attributed to a one-time write down in connection with Sunoco's decision to exit the refining business.

    "A second straight quarter of record earnings at Sunoco Logistics Partners LP and good results in retail were the primary drivers of Sunoco's profitability from operations in the third quarter," said Lynn L. Elsenhans, Sunoco's chairman and CEO.

    In other Q3 earnings news, net income at Western Refining Inc.'s convenience stores dropped to $2.5 million, compared to $7.6 million during the same quarter in 2010. Net sales grew to $258 million from $195 million, perhaps due to 22 new GIANT locations that have opened in 2011.

    Western Refining has about 200 locations throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas and Utah. The retailer's fuel and merchandise sales both increased during its fiscal third quarter, compared to the same period in 2010. Fuel sales increased to $218 million from $158 million, and merchandise sales improved to $55 million from $52 million.

    As a whole, Western Refining's third-quarter net income rose to $84.9 million, compared to $6.9 million during 2010's third quarter.

    "Western had another successful quarter due primarily to refining margins and the strength of our operations," said Jeff Stevens, Western Refining's president and CEO.

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