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    Retail Remains Bright for Northern Tier Energy

    Fuel margins push retail division's numbers up for the third quarter.

    By Melissa Kress, Convenience Store News

    RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Even though SuperAmerica parent company Northern Tier Energy LP experienced some bumps in its refining division during the latest quarter, its retail division turned in another solid performance.

    The Ridgefield-based company reported retail operating income of $4.4 million in the third quarter of 2013 compared to $1.2 million in the third quarter of 2012. The improvement in retail was attributed to improved fuel margins, Chief Operating Officer Chet Kuchta said during the company's third-quarter earnings call today.

    Specifically, fuel margins were 19 cents per gallon for the third quarter of 2013 vs. 12 cents per gallon for the same period last year. In addition, fuel gallons sold at company-operated retail stores totaled 81.2 million gallons in the third quarter of 2013 compared to 80.1 million in the prior-year period.

    As for its retail portfolio of convenience stores, Kuchta said the company continues to focus on obtaining more franchisees and expanding its SuperAmerica c-store network. Northern Tier Energy currently operates 163 SuperAmerica convenience stores and supports 74 franchised c-stores, primarily in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    The retail division was a bright spot in a quarter that saw net operating income companywide come in at $27.3 million, compared to $199.4 million in the third quarter of 2012. According to Hank Kuchta, president and CEO of Northern Tier Energy, a fire and the ensuing downtime at the company's Saint Paul Park Refinery contributed to the significant decline. However, the refinery is now back up and running.

    "Although we experienced some unplanned downtime, I am happy we were able to return in safe and timely manner," he said. "2013 will allow Northern Tier to remain nimble in 2014 and take advantage of market opportunities."

    By Melissa Kress, Convenience Store News
    • About Melissa Kress Melissa Kress joined EnsembleIQ's Convenience Store News and Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner in November 2010. Her primary beats include alcoholic beverages and tobacco. Kress has been a professional journalist since 1995. A graduate of West Virginia University, she began her career in community journalism before moving to business-to-business publishing in 2000, covering commercial real estate.

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